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Cornell University Library 
PR 3682.S3 1891 

The school for scandal, 

3 1924 013 198 134 

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Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 


School for Scandal 





First Produced at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, September 12th, 1874 

Reproduced at Daly's Theatre, January 20, 1891 

AND here Printed from the Prompter's Copy 








Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by Mr. AUGUSTIN DALY 
at the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



The School for Scandal. 


Although genius is elemental, and therefore is not created by circum- 
stances, it is certain that circumstances exert an important influence upon 
its drift, and upon the channels and methods of its expression. Sheridan 
— whose father was an actor and whose mother was a dramatist, and who 
was born at Dublin in 1751, and trained at Harrow School from 1762 till 
1769, when he went to reside with his father at Bath — came upon the 
scene at a period when English fine society was in an exceedingly artifi- 
cial condition; and this prevalent artificiality of manners, as experience 
subsequently proved, was destined to increase and to prevail during the 
whole of his career [he died in 18 16], and not to decline until after the 
death of George the Fourth, in 1830. When Sheridan went to reside at 
Bath he was in his nineteenth year ; a remarkably handsome youth ; ar- 
dent and impressible'; and Bath was then one of the gayest cities in the 
British kingdom. In that brilliant city and in that opulent, insincere, 
tattling, backbiting society — intermittently, but most of the time — he 
lived during the perilous years of his youth, from 1770 to 1776 : there he 
loved and won for a wife the beautiful Eliza Linley — eloping with her to 
France, and fighting duels in her defence when he came back ; there he 
wrote " The Rivals '•' and " The Duenna," and there he planned and 
partly executed " The School for Scandal." Into " The Rivals " he 
wrought much of his own personal experience, duly and artistically modi- 
fied and veiled. Into the " School for Scandal" he wrought the results 
of his observation — working in a manner essentially natural to his order 
of mind, yet one that was to some extent guided and impelled by the 
study of Etherege, Wycherley, Farquhar, Vanbrugh, and Congreve, who 
are his intellectual ancestors. There is more freedom, more freshness of 
impulse, more kindness, more joy, more nature in " The Rivals " than 



there is in " The School for Scandal ; " but both are artificial ; both re- 
flect, in a mirror of artistic exaggeration, the hollow, feverish, ceremoni- 
ous, bespangled, glittering, heart-breaking fashionable world, in which 
their author's mind was developed and in which they were created. The 
" School for Scandal," indeed, is completely saturated with artificiality, 
and the fact that it was intended to satirize and rebuke the faults of an 
insincere, scandal-mongering society does not— and was not meant to — 
modify that pervasive and predominant element of its character. 

Satire, in order to be effective, must portray the thing that it excoriates. 
The " School for Scandal" rebukes a vice by depicting it, and makes tlie 
rebuke pungent by depicting it in a brilliant and entertaining way ; yet 
there is no considerable comedy in our language, not even one by Ether- 
ege or by Congreve* — authors whose influence was naturally and cogently 
operative upon the kindred mind of Sheridan — that stands further off' 

* The student of the comedies of Sheridan is aided in his appreciation of their 
quality, their spirit, their peculiar excellence, by a preliminary study of Etherege, 
Wycherley, Farquhar, Vanbrugh, and Congreve. The intellectual line represented 
by those writers closed with Sheridan. No successor has arisen, although of imita- 
tors there have been scores. Sir George Etherege [i636?-i689] wrote " The Comi- 
cal Revenge" [1664], "She Would if She Could" [1668], and "The Man of Mode, 
or Sir Fopling Flutter " [1676J. William Wycherley [1640-1715] wrote, between 1672 
and 1677, " I.ove in a Wood," "The Gentleman Dancing-Master," "The Country 
Wife," and " The Plain-Dealer." Moore found it difficult to believe that Sheridan 
was unfamiliar with the last of these pieces : it is extremely probable that he had a 
cursory knowledge of them all. George Farquhar [1678-1707] wrote " Love and a 
Bottle " [1699J, " The Constant Couple " [1700], " Sir Harry Wildair " [1701], " The 
Inconstant" [1702], "The Twin Rivals" [1703], "The Stage Coach" [1705], in 
which he was assisted by Peter A. Motteux [1660-1718], " The Recruiting Officer " 
[170s], and "The Beaux Stratagem" [1707!. Sheridan had the same Irish grace 
that is found in Farquhar, but he more closely resembles Congreve in terseness and 
glitter. Sir John Vanbrugh [1666 ?-i726] wrote " The Relapse " [1697], " The Pro- 
voked Wife " [1697], "^sop" [1697], "The Pilgrim" (1700], "The False Friend" 
[1702], "The Confederacy" [1705], "The Mistake" [1706], "The Cuckold in Con- 
ceit" [1706], "The Country House" [1715], and "A Journey to London" [1728]. 
" Squire Trelooby " [1734] is also attributed to him. Vanbrugh wrote with more ap- 
parent facility than either of the others in this group, and his language is more flexi- 
ble, more like the language of actual men and women, than that of the rest. William 
Congreve [1670-1729] wrote "The Old Bachelor" [1693], "The Double-Dealer " 
[1694], " Love for Love " [1695], "The Mourning Bride" [1697], " The Way of the 
World " [1700], " The Judgment of Paris," a Masque [1701], and " Semele " [1707]. 
Moore notes the significant fact that the best comedies have generally been written 
by young authors. All of Congreve's pieces were written before he was twenty-five. 
Farquhar died at thirty. Vanbrugh began early. Sheridan at twenty-seven had 
written " The School for Scandal," and he never surpassed it ; indeed, practically, he 
wrote no more for the stage — for " Pizarro " and " The Stranger " (which substan- 
tially are his) are scarcely worth remembrance. But the reason why good comedies 
may be written by clever young men is not obscure. Comedy must necessarily treat 
of actual life and manners, and this subject, which ceases to be interesting as men 
grow old, is for youth a delightful inspiration. 



from the simplicity of nature, moves in a more garish light, or requires 
for its intelligible and effective interpretation a more studied, manufact- 
ured, fantastic manner. It contains no person upon whom the imagina- 
tion can dwell with delight, or to whom the heart can become devoted ; 
no person who either fires the mind by example, or arouses the imagina- 
tion by romantic nobility, or especially wins esteem whether for worth of 
character or excellence of conduct. Once or twice indeed — as in Charles's 
impulsive expression of grateful sentiment toward the bounteous uncle 
whom he supposes to be absent from the scene of the Auction, and in Sir 
Peter Teazle's disclosure to Josejih of his considerate intentions toward his 
volatile wife, in the scene of the Screen — it imparts a transient thrill of 
feeling. But it never strjkes — and, indeed, it never ^uns to strike — the 
note of pathos, in it s po rtraiture pJLhuman life : so that, in the main, it 
contains scarcely a, singlejrajtjjf simple humanity. And yet its fa5cina-_ 
tion is universal, indomitable, irresistible, final — the fascination of buoy- 
ant intellectual character, invincible gayety, pungent satire, and a gor- 
geous aflBuence of polished wit. It succeeded when it was first produced, 
and now, after the lapse of a hundred and thirteen years, it still con- 
tinues to please, equally when it is acted and when it is read. There is a 
moral in this, which ought to carry comfort to those votaries of art who 
believe in symbol rather than in fact, the ideal rather than the literal ; 
who know that a dramatic picture of life, in order that it may be made 
universal in its applicability and incessant in its influence, must be made 
to present aggregate and comprehensive personifications and not local 
and particular portraits, and must be painted in colors that are not sim- 
ply true but delicately exaggerated. This is the great art — the art which 
has made Shakespeare to survive when Ben Jonson is dead. The ab- 
sence of genial emotion — of the glow of expansive humanity and of pathos 
— in the " School for Scandal" is, perhaps, to be regretted ; but in this 
case a deficiency of the melting heart is counterbalanced by a prodigality 
of the opulent mind. The piece transcends locality and epoch. The 
resident not only of Bath and of London, but of New York and San Fran- 
cisco, the denizen not only of great capitals but of provincial villages, the 
inhabitant of yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow, can perceive the mean- 
ing, feel the power, and rejoice in the sparkling gayety of "The School 
for Scandal." 

This great comedy — produced when its author was in his twenty-seventh 
year — was written slowly, painfully, and with patient labor. Moore de- 
votes about thirty pages of his " Life of Sheridan" to an exposition of the 
two distinct sketches that the dramatist first made, when rearing the 
fabric of the piece, and dilates with particular admiration upon the 
scrupulous study, the fastidious care, and the anxious severity of revision 
with which he selected his language, moulded his materials, and blended 
and fused the many scattered threads of his fancy and inventive thought 
into one symmetrical fabric of crystal wit. " Nothing great and durable," 



exclaims the delighted biographer [and Moore was a man of excellent 
judgment, great reading, and a beautiful faculty in literature], " has ever 
been produced with ease. . . . Labor is the parent of all the lasting 
wonders of this world, whether a verse or stone, whether poetry or pyra- 
mids." The original manuscripts of the comedy manifested especially to 
Moore's discerning eye " a certain glare and coarseness," showing the 
effect of recent study of Wycherley and Vanbrugh ; but also they revealed 
the steady pressure of a delicate taste and the incessant operation of 
strenuous refinement, alike in the improvement of the characters, the 
conduct of the plot, the formation and arrangement of the sentences, and 
the choice of epithets. I One of Sheridan's peculiarities, indeed, was a 
light, graceful, indolent manner of elegant leisure. He preferred that 
(people should suppose that his work was always done spontaneously and 
with careless ease. In reality he accomplished nothing without effort.] 
During a considerable part of his life — certainly till he was thirty-six, 
when he joined Edmund Burke's sentimental crusade against Warren 
Hastings, and fortified the rancorous rhetoric of that statesman by a 
refulgent burst of verbal fireworks concerning the Begum Princesses 
of Oude — his industry was minute, assiduous, and vigilant. No man 
was ever a more pertinacious worker, and no man ever seemed to have 
less occupation or less need of endeavor for the accomplishment of 
splendid things. He did not, as so many fussy people do — who cannot 
endure to be employed without an everlasting fluster of cackle over the 
virtue of their toil — intrude his labor upon the attention of his friends. 
He displayed the finished statue ; he did not vaunt the chips and "the dust 
that were made in the cutting of it. He gave results ; he did not pro- 
claim the process of their production. " Few persons with so much natu- 
ral brilliancy of talents," says Moore, " ever employed more art and cir- 
cumspection in their display." But Sheridan's reticence in this particular 
was not exclusively of a theatrical kind. He held the most of human 
achievements to be [what certainly they are] of slight importance ; he 
shrunk with all his soul from the disgrace and humiliation of being a 
bore ; and he possessed in extraordinary fulness, and therefore he abun- 
dantly exerted, the rare faculty of taste. There can be no doubt that as 
time wore on the character of Sheridan was weakened and degraded by 
misfortune, embarrassment, profligate associations [with the Prince Re- 
gent and his shameless set], and most of all by intemperance ; but at 
the beginning of his life, and for some years of his splendid productive- 
ness and prosperity, he was a noble gentleman and a most individual 
mental power ; and there is no reason why a virtue of his character should 
be set down to its weakness. 

The "School for Scandal" was produced under auspicious circum- 
stances. Garrick had read it and pronounced it excellent. Garrick, 
moreover, had assisted at its rehearsals, and had written a prologue to 
introduce it. Murphy, in his life of that great aqtor— then retired from 



the stage — says that Garrick was never known on any former occasion to 
be more anxious for a favorite piece. On the first night, May 8, 1777, 
the doors of Drury Lane Theatre, which were opened at half-past five, 
had not been opened an hour when the house was crowded. The receipts 
that night were £221. King spoke the prologue, which is in Garrick's 
more whimsical and sprightly manner. Colman furnished an epilogue. The 
rehearsals had been numerous and careful. Sheridan, who was manager 
as well as author, had taken great pains. Every part was well acted. 
The incessant play of wit created an effect of sparkling animation. Mrs. 
Abington, King, and Smith — who played respectively Lady Teazle, Sir 
Peter Teazle, and Charles Surface — were uncommonly brilliant. Palmer, 
as Joseph Surface, was superb. The only defect noticed was a sluggish- 
ness of movement in act second, incident to some . excess of talk by 
the clique of scandal-mongers. Garrick observed that the characters 
upon the stage at the falling of the screen waited too long before they 
spoke. At the close of the screen scene, nevertheless — ending the fourth 
act — the applause was tremendous. Frederick Reynolds, the dramatist, 
happening to pass through the pit passage, " from Vinegar Yard to Brydges 
Street," about nine o'clock that night, heard such a noise, all at once, 
that he thought the theatre was about to fall, and ran for his life. The 
public enthusiasm, after the final descent of the baize, was prodigious. 
Sheridan was so delighted that he quaffed unlimited wine, got drunk, made 
a row in the street, and was knocked down and put into the watch-house. 
The London newspapers teemed with praises of the comedy, not only on 
the next day but on mjilhy days thereafter. Horace Walpole, who speed- 
ily went to see it, "wrote Jhus from his retreat at Strawberry Hill : " To 
my great surprise there were more parts performed admirably, in this 
comedy than I almost ever saw in any playl Mrs. Abington was equal 
to the first in her profession. Yates, Parsons, Miss Pope, and Palmer, 
all shone." Boaden, the biographer, in allusion to King and Mrs. Ab- 
ington as Sir Peter and I^dy Teazle, said they were so suited to each 
other that they lost half their soul in separation. For years afterward the 
success of " The School for Scandal " was so great in London that it 
clouded the success of the new pieces that were brought forward in 
its wake. From the capital it went to Bath, Edinburgh, York, Dublin, 
and other large towns of the kingdom. Moore records that the scenes of 
the Auction and the Screen were presented upon the Paris stage in 1778, 
in a piece called " Les Deux Neveux," and that the whole story soon 
found its way to the Theatre Frangais, under the name of " Tartuffe de 
Mceurs." Genest, commenting on the first cast, and speaking from his 
ample knowledge of the chronicles of the first performance (if not, possi- 
bly, from personal recollection), observes that "this comedy was so ad- 
mirably acted that though it has continued on the acting list at Drury 
Lane from that time to this [1832], and been several times represented at 
Covent Garden and The Haymarket, yet no new performer has ever ap- 



peared in any one of the principal characters that was not inferior to the 
person who acted it originally." — The statement is made in "The Thes- 
pian Dictionary" [1802], that "the copy of this play was lost after the 
first night's representation, and all the performers in it were summoned 
together early the next day in order, by the assistance of their parts, to 
prepare another prompter's book.'' 

The London productions of the " School for Scandal," recorded by 
Genest * are as follows : 

Drury Lane May 8, 1777 

Haymarket September 2, 1785 

Drury Lane April 8, 1797 

Drury Lane May 18, 1798 

Covent Garden March 31, 1798, 

Covent Garden May 30, 1810, 

Covent Garden March 23, 1813 

Covent Garden September 10, 1818 

Drury Lane December i, 1825 

It is more than half a century since the industrious, loquacious, sensi- 
ble, matter-of-fact parson of Bath made up his chronicle, and many 
brilliant representations of " The School for Scandal " have been accom- 
plished within that time on both sides of the Atlantic. The method in 
which the piece was originally acted, however, has been preserved by 
tradition, and actors in succeeding generations have seldom widely de- 
parted from it — although they may have fallen short of its reputed per- 
fection [a point by no means certain]. That method was the delicate, 
brilliant exaggeration of the manners of polite society in the days of 
George the Third. Mrs. Abington [1738-1815], the original representa- 
tive of Lady Teazle, made her, radically and consistently, the affected 
fine lady, without giving the slightest indication that she had ever been 
" a girl bred wholly in the country ; " and Mrs. Abington's example has 
usually, and perhaps involuntarily, been followed. Elizabeth Farren 
[1759-1829], who succeeded Mrs. Abington at Drury Lane, gave a re- 
markably elegant performance of the part, harmonious as to artifice with 
the ideal indicated by her predecessor, but superior to that ideal in natu- 
ral refinement. It was in this character that Miss Farren took leave of 
the stage, April 8, 1797, just before her marriage with the Earl of Derby.f 

* Some Account of the English Stage, from the Restoration in 1660 to 1830. In 
Ten Volumes. [By the Rev. John Genest, of Bath.] Bath : Printed by H. E. Car- 
rington. Sold by Thomas Rodd, Great Newport Street, London, 1832. 

t " I recollect the circumstance of seeing Lord Derby leaving his private box to 
creep to her [Miss Farren], behind the screen, and, of course, we all looked with im- 
patience for the discovery, hoping the screen would fall a little too soon and show 
to the audience Lord Derby as well as Lady Teazle." — Miss Wynne's " Diary of a 
Lady of Quality." 



The next important embodiment of Lady Teazle was that of Dora Jordan 
[■1762-1816J. That delightful actress, while assuming the affected fine 
lady, allowed an occasional trace of rustic breeding to show itself through 
an artificial manner. John Gait, who wrote biographies of both Miss Far- 
ren and Mrs. Jordan, but had never seen either of them, states that 
Dora Jordan's impersonation of Lady Teazle was praised for "those 
little points and sparkles of rusticUy which are still, by the philosophical 
critics, supposed to mark the country education of the fascinating hero- 
ine." And Gait's parallel between the two is instructively significant. 
Miss Farren was " as the camelia of the conservatory — soft, beautiful, and 
delicate." Mrs. Jordan was "as the rose of the garden, sprinkled with 
dew." All the representatives of Lady Teazle, for a hundred years, have 
been of one or the other of the varieties thus denoted. 

Historic chronicles record many distinguished names of actors upon 
the British stage who have been identified with "The School for Scan- 
dal " and who have sharpened the outline and deepened the color of those 
traditions as to its performance which it was a part of their vocation to 
transmit. King, who left the stage in 1802, had earlier parted from Sher- 
idan. His immediate successors as Sir Peter Teazle were Richard 
Wroughton and the elder Mathews [1776-1835], but neither of them was 
conspicuously fine in it. Mathews played Sir Peter at twenty-eight. 
Munden [1758-1832] acted it, with Mrs. Abington as Lady Teazle, on 
March 31, 1789, in London. Before that time he had acted it in Dublin 
with Miss O'Neill as Lady Teazle ; and he opened the season of 1816-17 
with it, at the new Drury Lane [the old one was burned down on Febru- j 
ary 24, 1809]. During his farewell engagement, October i to October j 
31, i823,~af Drury Lane, he played it twice— on the i8th and on the 
25th. His performance of Sir Peter was always admired for polished de- 
portment, freedom from suspicion, and boundless confidence. " When 
an actor retires," said Charles Lamb, " how many worthy persons must 
perish with him ! With Munden — Sir Peter Teazle must experience a 
shock ; Sir Robert Bramble gives up the ghost ; Crack ceases to breathe.'' 
The discrimination here suggested is significant : Sir Peter was in the 
second grade — not the first — of that great actor's achievements. It was 
in the first grade, however, of the achievements of his eminent successor, 
William Farren * [1786-1861], the best Lord Ogleby of this century, on 

* On the occasion when William Farren made his first appearance upon the Lon- 
don stage, playing Sir Peter Teazle^ the " School for Scandal" was interpreted by a 
remarkable group of actors. This performance occurred at Covent Garden Theatre 
[Mr.. Harris, manager], on September 10, 1818 ; and this is a part of the cast: 

Sir Peter Teazle Mr. Farren. 

Sir Oliver Surface Mr. Terry. 

Joseph Surface Mr. Young. 

Charles Surface Mr. C. Kemble. 

Crabtree Mr. Blanchard. 

Sir Benjamin Backbite Mr. Listen. 

Lady Teazle Miss Louisa Brunton. 

Maria Miss Foote. 

Lady Sneerwell 

Mrs. Candour Mrs. Gibbs. 


the British stage, who, while he lacked robust vigor for the impersonation 
of Sir Anthony Absolute and kindred characters, possessed exactly the 
lace-ruffle-and-diamond style essential for the expression of Sir Peter 
Teazle's refinement, high-bred testiness, and amused, satirical cynicism. 
No English actor since Farren has been esteemed his equal in this char- 
acter. The most notable performance of Sir Peter that the English audi- 
ence has seen since Farren's day was, apparently, that of Samuel Phelps 
[1797-1872]. It is thought to have lacked Farren's distinction and his 
delicacy of mechanism and finish, but it was accounted remarkable 
for the qualities of force, sincerity, authority, and restraint. William 
Farren, son of " old Farren," performed Sir Peter Teazle, in a revival 
of " The School for Scandal " which was effected at the Vaudeville 
Theatre, London, in 1872, and gained public favor and critical admira- 

The character of Lady Teazle has had many representatives on the 
British stage, only a few of whom are now remembered. Louisa Brun- 
ton, who became Countess of Craven, and Miss Smithson [1800-1854], 
who wedded with Berlioz, the composer, were among the earliest fol- 
lowers in the footsteps of Mrs. Abington, Miss Farren, and Mrs. Jor- 
dan. Mrs. Warner [1804-1854], acted the part with Phelps, and was 
esteemed one of its best representatives. Lucy Elizabeth Vestris [1798- 
1856] gave anjmpersonation oi Lady Teazle, which, although superficial 
and shallow, was exceedingly vivacious and piquant. Louisa Cranstoun 
Nisbett [1812-1858], who became Lady Boothby — the most radiant 
and enchanting of the old stage beauties — made the part bewitching 
and brilliant, without suggestion of much sincerity or depth. One of 
the most highly esteemed and thoughtfully commended portrayals of 
Lady Teazle that have been recorded of late years was that given 
by Marie Wilton (Mrs. Bancroft) at the Prince of Wales Theatre, 
London, in April, 1874. That intellectual and polished actress Gene- 
vieve Ward has acted it, with sparkling effect, both in French and 

The American record of " The School for Scandal" begins with a per- 
^formance of it given at the John Street Theatre, New York, on Decem- 
/ ber 16, 1785. The famous piece was then acted — according to the excel- 
'■ lent authority of Mr. Ireland — "probably, for the first time in America." 
The cast is printed on another page of this book. The first representa- 
tion that the comedy received at the old Park Theatre occurred on De- 
cember 3, 1798. Since then it has been performed in every considerable 
theatre in the United States, and often it has enlisted the talent of re- 
markably brilliant groups of actors. There is probably no veteran play- 
goer who could not, with slight effort of the memory, recall a cast of 
" The School for Scandal " which he would regard as incomparable and 
memorable. No piece has enjoyed more favor as the signalizing feature 


of special dramatic occasions.* The chief part — the part that is a spring of 
crystal vitality for the whole fabric of the piece — is Lady Teazle, and upon 
the representative of that character the comedy is largely dependent. 
On the American stage Lady Teazle has been acted by Mrs. Morris, Mrs. 
Henry, Mrs. Hallam, Mrs. Lipman, Miss Westray [Mrs. W. B. Wood], 
Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. Gilfert, Fanny Kemble [September 21, 1832], Mrs. Hamb- 
lin, Miss Cooper, Rose Telbin, Miss Anderton, Mrs. Russell [now Mrs. 
Hoey] Mme. Ponisi, Mrs. Mowatt, Catharine Sinclair [Mrs. Edwin Forrest], 
Ellen Tree [Mrs. Charles Kean], Julia Dean, Eliza Logan, Mrs. Catherine 
Farren, Jean Davenport [Mrs. Lander], Mrs. Bowers, Laura Keene, Miss 
Jane Coombs, Miss Madeline Henriques, Miss Rose Eytinge, Miss Fanny 
Davenport, Mrs. Julia Bennett Barrow, Mrs. Scott-Siddons, Miss Adelaide 
Neilson, Miss Rose Coghlan, Miss Augusta Dargon, Miss Annie Clarke, 
Mrs. F. B. Conway, Miss Ada Dyas, Mrs. Clara Jennings, Miss Ada Cav- 
endish, Mrs. Rose Leland, and Mrs. Langtry. 

Among distinguished representatives of Sir Peter Teazle who have been 
seen on the American stage may be named Mr. Henry, Mr. Hallam, Mr. 
W. B. Wood, Joseph Jefferson [the grandfather of our Rip Van Winkle\, 
William Warren [the father of the late William Warren, of our time, who 
also was famous and especially fine in this character], Mr. Twaits, Mr. 
Roberts, Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Finn, Mr. Chippendale, Henry Placide, 
Peter Richings, Henry Wallack, Charles Barr, William Rufus Blake, 
William Davidge, John Gilbert, William Warren, Charles Fisher, Mark 
Smith, and Henry Edwards. The character of Charles Surface has beei) 
interpreted, for American audiences, by Mr. Hodgkinson, Mr. Cooper, 
George Barrett, Charles Kemble, Frederick B. Conway, James E. Mur- 
doch, William Wheatley, George Vandenhoff, E. L. Davenport, Lester 
Wallack, Charles Wyndham, H. J. Montague, Osmund Tearle, Charles 
Coghlan, Charles Barron, George Clarke, and John Drew. 

Most of the old comedies contain improprieties ; sometimes of situation, 
more commonly of language ; and these are not adornments but blem- 
ishes. Every old comedy, furthermore, which has survived in actual 

* Among memorable casts of " The School for Scandal " this one may well be re- 
called. The performance was given in the afternoon of May 19, 1869, at Niblo's 
Theatre, for the benefit of John Brougham : 

Sir Peter Teazle John Gilbert.t 

Sir Oliver Surface John Brougham.t 

Joseph Surface Neil Warner. 

Charles Surface Edwin Adams.t 

Crabtree A. W. Young.t 

Sir Benjamin Backbite ..Owen Marlowe.t 
Rowley T. J. Hind.t 

Trip J. C. Williamson. 

Snake Frank Rae.t 

Careless J. W. Collier. 

Sir Harry Bumper R. Green. 

Lady Teazle Mrs. D. P. Bowers. 

Maria Miss Pauline Markham. 

Lady Sneerwell Mrs. John Sefton.t 

Moses Harry Beckett.t ' Mrs. Candour Miss Fanny Morantt 

t Dead. 


representation, has gathered to itself, in the course of years, a consider- 
able number of extraneous passages, which may collectively, though per- 
haps not quite accurately, be described as "gags." These are the con- 
tributions, mainly, of actors and stage-managers. They are either fig- 
ments of fancy, or readily appreciable jokes, or local and particular 
allusions, which, in actual performance of the piece, were found to be 
effective. In some cases they have become so solidly incorporated into 
the original text that they have gained acceptance as actually parts of the 
original structure, and the omission of them has been known to prompt a 
righteous remonstrance against the iniquity of tampering with the author. 
As a rule they are both spoken and heard under the impression that they 
belong to the play. The "pickled elephant" that figures in Valentines 
mad scene, in " Love for Love," might be cited as an example of this sort of 
embellishment. The passage is not in Congreve's text, but it is generally 
used. It was introduced by the elder Wallack — then a young man on the 
London stage — on a night when he was acting Valentine, in place of Ellis- 
ton, who was disabled with gout. That day an elephant had gone mad 
and been shot by the guards, and this incident had caused much popular 
excitement. Valentine, who is pretending to be deranged, has to talk 
wildly, and Wallack's sudden ejaculation, " Bring me a pickled elephant," 
was thought to be excellent lunacy — for it was received with copious ap- 
plause ; and EUiston, seated in his invalid-chair, at the wing, accosted 
Wallack, as that actor came off, and mournfully exclaimed, " They never 
shot an elephant for me, young man ! " Since then every representative 
of Valentine makes this allusion, although now the reference is pointless 
and the image stands in the category of Oriana's " tall, gigantic sights" 
and Tilburina's " whistling moon." The presence of such points in those 
old plays may well intimate to the judicious observer that their text has 
not, from the beginning, been regarded as a sacred thing, and that the 
prime necessity of the stage — which is Effect — may sometimes be found 
to warrant both additions and omissions in the presentment of comedies 
that are, in some measure, obsolete. One thing is certain — that the in- 
delicacy of those old pieces is offensive to the taste of the present time, 
and ought not ever, in these days, to be thrust upon an audience. It is 
not an answer to talk of " Bowdlerism," or to sneer at " purists," or to 
stigmatize refinement as squeamish pruriency. There is much pure 
gold in the Old English Comedy ; but the dirt that is in it should always 
be cast aside. Nor is the modern theatre under any sort of obligation 
to treat that body of stage literature as if it were a celestial revelation. 
The present book of "The School for Scandal," prepared by Augustin 
Daly, has been edited in a spirit harmonious with these views. The 
coarseness of the scandal-mongering colloquies has been expunged 
and the story made no less cleanly than it is direct and forcible, as well 
as pertinent to conventional experience. A few sentences have been 



dropped, in order to shorten the piece, and a few others have been trans- 
posed — the objects sought being incessant movement and the circum- 
scription of each act within a single scenic picture. This comedy is not 
only the best work of one of the most brilliant writers that ever lived, but 
it is one of the best dramatic pieces ever written, and the revival of it 
from time to time will, doubtless, continue to occur upon the stage as 
long as the stage endures. This certainly should be hoped, for " The 
School for Scandal" teaches charity and reticence ; and these are among 
the greatest virtues that adorn character and sanctify life. 










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, Scene' I.— Lady Sneerwell's House. 

Lady Sneerwell enters with Snake, r. u. e. 

Lady S. The paragraphs, Mr. Snake, were all inserted ? 

Snake. They were, madam ; and as I copied them myself in 
a feigned hand, there can be no suspicion whence they came. 

Lady S. Did you circulate the report of Lady Brittle's in- 
trigue with Captain Boastall ? \Sits on sofa, R. 

Snake. That's in as fine a train as your ladyship could wish. 
In the common course of things, I think it must reach Mrs. 
Clackitt's ears within four-and-twenty hours ; and then the 
business is as good as done, for you know Mrs. Clackitt has a 
very pretty talent, and a great deal of industry. \Sits?^ But 
then she wants that delicacy of tint and mellowness of sneer 
which distinguishes your ladyship's scandal. 

\A servant enters with chocolate, which he serves to both, 
and stands in the background until they return their 

Lady S. Ah ! You are partial, Snake. 

Snake. Not in the least — everybody allows that Lady 
Sneerwell can do more with a word or a look than many can 
with the most labored detail, even when they happen to have 
a little truth on their side to support it. 

Lady S., Yes, my dear Snake ; and I am no hypocrite to 



deny the satisfaction I reap from the success of my efforts. 
Wounded myself in the early part of my life by the envenomed 
tongue of slander, I confess I have since known no pleasure 
equal to the reducing others to the level of my own reputa- 

Snake. Nothing can be more natural. But, Lady Sneer- 
well, there is one affair in which you have lately employed 
me, wherein, I confess, I am at a loss to guess your motives. 

Lady S. I conceive you mean with respect to my neighbor. 
Sir Peter Teazle, and his family ? 

Snake. I do. Here are two young men, to whom Sir Peter 
has acted as a kind of guardian since their father's death ; the 
eldest possessing the most amiable character, and universally 
well spoken of — the youngest, the most dissipated and extrav- 
agant young fellow in the kingdom, without friends or charac- 
ter ; the former an avowed admirer of your ladyship's, and 
apparently your favorite ; the latter attached to Maria, Sir 
Peter's ward, and confessedly beloved by her. Now, on the 
face of these circumstances, it is utterly unaccountable to me 
why you, the widow of a city knight, with a good jointure, 
should not close with the passion of a man of such character 
and expectations as Mr. Surface ; and more so, why you 
should be so uncommonly earnest to destroy the mutual at- 
tachment subsisting between his brother Charles and Maria. 

Lady S. \Laying her cup on table.} Then at once to un- 
ravel this mystery, I must inform you that love has no share 
whatever in the intercourse between Joseph Surface and me. 

Snake. No ? \Handing his cup to Servant, who exits. 

Lady S. His real attachment is to Maria, or her fortune ; but 
finding in his brother a favored rival, he has been obliged to 
mask his pretensions, and profit by my assistance. 

Snake. Yet I am still more puzzled why you should interest 
yourself in his success. 

Lady S. \Rises and goes C] Heavens ! how dull you are. 
Cannot you surmise the weakness which I hitherto, through 
shame, have concealed even from you ? Must I confess that 
Charles, that libertine, that extravagant, that bankrupt in for- 
tune and reputation, that he it is for whom I'm thus anxious 



and malicious, and to gain whom I would sacrifice every- 
thing ? \_Sits L, 

Snake. [ Risesi\ Now, indeed, your conduct seems consis- 
tent ; but how came you and Joseph so confidential ? 

{Stands by LADY Sneerwell. 

Lady S. For our mutual interest. I have found him out a 
long time since. I know him to be artful, selfish, and malicious 
— in short, a sentimental knave ; while with Sir Peter, and in- 
deed with all his acquaintance, he passes for a youthful miracle 
of prudence, good sense, and benevolence. 

Snake. \Sits.\ Yes : yet Sir Peter vows he has not his equal 
in England — and above all he praises him as a man of senti- 

Lady S. True — and with the assistance of his sentiment and 
hypocrisy he has brought him entirely into his interest with 
regard to Maria ; while poor Charles has no friend in the house, 
though, I fear, he has a powerful one in Maria's heart, against 
whom we must direct our schemes. 

Enter SERVANT, from L. 

Serv. Mr. Surface. 

Lady S. [Crosses R.] Show him up. [£xtt SERVANT, L.] 
He generally calls about this time. [Going- R.J I don't won- 
der at people giving him to me for a lover. 

Enter Joseph Surface, c. 

Joseph S. [c] My dear Lady Sneerwell, how do you do 
to-day ? Mr. Snake, your most obedient. 

Lady S. [R.] Snake has just been rallying me on our mu- 
tual attachment ; but I have informed him of our real views. 
You know how useful he has been to us, and, believe me, the 
confidence is not ill-placed. \Sits R. 

Joseph S. Madam, it is impossible for me to suspect a man 
of Mr. Snake's sensibility and discernment. 

Lady S. Well, well, no compliments now ; but tell me when 
you saw your mistress, Maria, or, what is more material to me, 
your brother. 



Joseph S. {Sits. 'I I have not seen either since I left you; 
but I can inform you that they never meet. Some of your 
stories have taken a good effect on Maria. 

Lady S. Ah ! my dear Snake ! the merit of this belongs to 
you ; but do your brother's distresses increase ? 

Joseph S. Every hour. I am told he has had another exe- 
cution in the house yesterday. In short, his dissipation and 
extravagance exceed everything I ever heard of. 

Lady S. Poor Charles ! 

Joseph S. True, madam ; notwithstanding his vices, one 
cannot help feeling for him. Poor Charles ! I am sure I wish 
it were in my power to be of any essential service to him ; for 
the man who does not feel for the distresses of a friend, even 
though merited by his own misconduct, deserves 

Lady S. O YmAX {Rises and goes C.'\ You are going to be 
moral, and forget that you are among friends. 

Joseph S. Egad, that's true ! I'll keep that sentiment till I 
see Sir Peter. {Knock heard outside. 

Snake. I believe, Lady Sneerwell, here's company coming, 
I'll go and copy the letter I mentioned to you. {Goes up.'] 
Mr. Surface, your most obedient. 

Joseph S. { Turning to Snake.] Sir, your very devoted. 
{Exit Snake, r. c] Lady Sneerwell, I am very sorry you 
have put any further confidence in that fellow. 

Lady S. Why so ? 

Joseph S. [R.J I have lately detected him in frequent con- 
ference with old Rowley, who was formerly my father's stew- 
ard, and has never, you know, been a friend of mine. 

Lady S. And do you think he would betray us ? 

Joseph S. Nothing more likely. [LADY SNEERWELL goes 
R.] Take my word for it. He has not honesty enough to 
be faithful even to his own villainy. — Ah ! Maria ! {Crosses L. 

Enter MARIA, I.., preceded by SERVANT. 

Lady S. [R.J Maria, my dear, how do you do? What's 

the matter ? 
Maria. [C.J Oh ! that disagreeable lover of mine, Sir Ben- 



jamin Backbite, has just called at my guardian's with his odious 
uncle, Crabtree ; so I slipped out, and ran hither to avoid them. 

Lady S. Is that all ? 

Joseph S. [L.] If my brother Charles had been of the party, 
madam, perhaps you would not have been so much alarmed. 

[Maria sits r. 

Lady S. Nay, now you are severe ; for I dare swear the 
truth of the matter is Maria heard you were here. \^Sits.'\ 
But, my dear, what has Sir Benjamin done, that you should 
avoid him so ? 

Maria. Oh ! he has done nothing — but 'tis for what he has 
said ; his conversation is a perpetual libel on all his acquaint- 

Joseph S. Ay, and the worst of it is, there is no advantage in 
not knowing him — for he'll abuse a stranger just as soon as his 
best friend ; and his uncle Crabtree's as bad. 

Lady S. Nay, but we should make allowance. — Sir Benja- 
min is a wit and a poet. 

Maria. For my part, I own, madam, wit loses its respect 
with me, when I see it in company with malice. 

Lady S. Pshaw ! — there's no possibility of being witty with- 
out a little ill-nature : the malice of a good thing is the barb 
that makes it stick. 

Enter Servant, l. 

Serv. Mrs. Candour. \Exit Servant, c. 

Lady S. Now, Maria, here is a character to your taste ; for 
though Mrs. Candour is a little talkative, everybody allows her 
to be the best natured and best sort of woman. 

Maria. Yes, with a very gross affectation of good nature 
and benevolence she does more mischief than the direct malice 
of old Crabtree. 

Joseph S. I'faith that's true. Lady Sneerwell : whenever I 
hear the current running against the characters of my friends, 
I never think them in such danger as when Candour under- 
takes their defence. 

Lady S. Hush ! — here she is. 

{Goes to meet Mrs. Candour. 


Servant shows in Mrs. Candour, l, 

Mrs. Can. My dear Lady Sneerwell, how have you been 

this century? Mr. Surface, what news do you hear? — 

though indeed it is no matter, for I think one hears nothing 
else but scandal. 

Joseph S. [L.J Just so, indeed, ma'am. 

Mrs. C. {Crosses to MARIA, and sits on chair R.] Oh, 
Maria ! child, — what ! is the whole affair off between you and 
Charles ? — His extravagance, I presume — the town talks of 
nothing else. 

Maria. [R.j I am very sorry, ma'am, the town has so little 
to do. 

Mrs. C. [r. C] True, true, child : but there's no stopping 
people's tongues. I own I was hurt to hear it, as I indeed was 
to learn, from the same quarter, that your guardian. Sir Peter, 
and Lady Teazle, have not agreed lately as well as could be 

Maria. 'Tis strangely impertinent for people to busy them- 
selves so. 

Mrs. C. Very true, child : — but what's to be done ? — People 
will talk — there's no preventing it. Why, it was but yester- 
day I was told that Miss Gadabout had eloped with Sir Fili- 
gree Fhrt. — But, Lord ! there's no minding- what one hears ; 
though, to be sure, I had this from very good authority. 

Maria. Such reports are highly scandalous. 

Mrs. C. So they are, child — shameful, shameful ! But the 

world is so censorious — no character escapes. Lord, now, 

who would have suspected your friend. Miss Prin^, of an indis- 
cretion ? Yet such is the ill-nature of people that they say her 
uncle stopped her last week just as she was stepping into the 
York Mail with her dancing-master. 

Maria. I'll answer for it, there are no grounds for that re- 
port. ■ 

Joseph S. The license of invention some people take is mon- 
strous indeed. 

Maria. 'Tis so ; {Rises.] but, in my opinion, those who re- 
port such things are equally culpabki 


Mrs. C. To be sure they are : {Rises. 1 tale-bearers are as 
bad as the tale-makers — 'tis an old observation, and a very true 
one. But what's to be done ? as I said before ; how will you 
prevent people from talking ? 

Joseph S. Ah, Mrs. Candour ! {Rises.l If everybody had 
your forbearance and good-nature ! [LADY S. Joins MARIA. 

Mrs. C. I confess, Mr. Surface, I cannot bear to hear people 
attacked behind their backs ; and when ugly circumstances 
come out against our acquaintance, I own I always love to 
think the best. By the by, I hope 'tis not true that your 
brother is absolutely ruined ? 

Joseph S. I am afraid his circumstances are very bad in- 
deed, ma'am. 

Mrs. C. Ah ! I heard so — but you must tell him to keep up 
his spirits ; everybody almost is in the same way ; so if Charles 
is undone, he'll find half his acquaintance ruined too, and that, 
you know, is a consolation. 

Joseph S. Doubtless, ma'am — a very great one. 

Enter Servant, l. 

Serv. Mr. Crabtree and Sir Benjamin Backbite. 

{Exit Servant. 

Lady S. So, Maria, you see your lover pursues you. 
[Maria makes an attempt to go away.] Positively you sha'n't 

Enter Crabtree and Sir Benjamin Backbite, l. 

Crab. Lady Sneerwell, I kiss your hand. {Crosses to MRS. 
Candour.] — Mrs. Candour, I don't believe you are acquainted 
with my nephew. Sir Benjamin Backbite ? Egad ! ma'am, he 
has a pretty wit, and is a pretty poet, too ; isn't he. Lady 
Sneerwell ? 

Sir B. [L.] O fie, uncle ! 

Crab. [r. C] Nay, egad, it's true ; I back him at a rebus or 
a charade against the best rhymer in the kingdom. — Has your 
ladyship heard the epigram he wrote last week on Lady Friz- 
zle's feather catching fire? — Do, Benjamin, repeat it, or the 


charade you made last night extempore at Mrs. Drowzie's 
conversazione. Come now ! 

Sir B. Uncle, now — pr'thee {Crosses R. c. 

Crab. I'faith, ma'am, 'twould surprise you to hear how ready 
he is at these things. \_Sits L. with Mrs. Candour. 

Lady S. \Sits R.] I wonder, Sir Benjamin, you never pub- 
lish anything. 

[Chocolate is here handed round by the Servant. 

Sir B. To say truth, ma'am, 'tis very vulgar to print, and as 
my little productions are mostly satires and lampoons on par- 
ticular people, I find they circulate more by giving copies in 
confidence to the friends of the parties. {Crosses to Maria. J 
However, I have some love elegies which, when favored with 
this lady's smiles, I mean to give the public. 

Crab. 'Fore heaven, ma'am, they'll immortalize you ! — you 
will be handed down to posterity, like Petrarch's Laura or 
Waller's Sacharlssa. 

Sir B. Yes, madam, I think you will like them, when you 
shall see them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet 
of text shall murmur through a meadow of margin. — 'Fore 
Gad, they will be the most elegant things of their kind. 

Crab. {To Mrs. Candour.] But, ladies, that's true— have 
you heard the news ? 

Mrs. C. What, sir, do you mean the report of 

Crab. No, ma'am, that's not it — Miss Nicely is going to be 
married to her own footman. 

Mrs. C. Impossible ! 

Crab. Ask Sir Benjamin. 

Sir B. [Going c] 'Tis very true, ma'am ; everything is 
fixed, and the wedding liveries bespoke. 

f The Servant removes cups and exits. 

Mrs. C. [Crosses C] It can't be — and I wonder any one should 
believe such a story, of so prudent a lady as Miss Nicely. 

Sir B. [R. C.J O lud ! ma'am, that's the very reason 'twas 
believed at once. She has always been so cautious and so re- 
served that everybody was sure there was some reason for it 
at bottom. 

Mrs. C. Well, but this may be all a mistake. You know. Sir 


Benjamin, very trifling circumstances often give rise to the 
most injurious tales. 

Crab. That they do, I'll be sworn, ma'am. \To SURFACE.] 

lud ! Mr. Surface, pray is it true that yoiir uncle. Sir Oliver, 
is coming home ? 

Joseph S. [L.J Not that I know of, indeed, sir. 

Crab. [r. of Joseph.] He has been in the East Indies a long 
time. You can scarcely remember him, I believe ? — Sad com- 
fort, whenever he returns, to hear how your brother has gone 
on ! 

Joseph S. Charles has been imprudent, sirj to be sure ; but 

1 hope no busy people have already prejudiced Sir Oliver 
against him. He may reform. 

Sir B. To be sure he may : for my part, I never believed 
him to be so utterly void of principle as people say ; and 
though he has lost all his friends, I am told nobody is better 
spoken of by the Jews. 

Crab. That's true, egad, nephew. If the old Jewry was a 
ward, I believe Charles would be an alderman : — no man more 
popular there, 'fore Gad ! I hear that whenever he is sick, 
they have prayers for the recovery of his health in all the syn- 
agogues. {^Crosses R. C. 

Sir B. Yet no man lives in greater splendor. They tell 
me when he entertains his friends, he will sit down to dinner 
with a dozen of his own securities : have a score of tradesmen 
waiting in the antechamber, and an officer behind every guest's 

Joseph S. This may be entertainment to you, gentle- 
men, but you pay very little regard to the feelings of a bro- 
ther. \^Goes up C. 

Maria. Their malice is intolerable. \Goes up. 

Mrs. C. O dear ! she changes color very much. [ Whispered. 

Lady S. 'Twas nothing but that she could not bear to hear 
Charles reflected on, notwithstanding their difference. 

\Goes up to meet other guests, who arrive at the back ; 
others follow at intervals. ^ 

Sir B. The young lady's penchant is obvious. [Crosses R. C. 

Crab. But, Benjamin, you must not give up the pursuit for 



that : follow her, and put her in good humor. Aye, 'fore 
Gad, repeat to her some of your verses ; — by the by, your 
epigram on Lady Betty's ponies. 

Mrs. C. [R.J Yes, do ; let us all hear it. 

Joseph S. Yes, yes, the epigram, by all means. 

Sir B. O plague on't, uncle ! 'tis mere nonsense. 

Crab. No, no ; 'fore Gad, very clever for an extempore ! 

Sir B. [C.J But, ladies, you should be acquainted with 
the circumstance. You must know, that one day last week, 
as Lady Betty Curricle was taking the dust in Hyde Park, in 
a sort of duodecimo phaeton, she desired me to write some 
verses on her ponies; upon which I took out my pocket- 
book, and in one moment produced the following : 

Sure never were seen two such beautiful ponies ; 
Other horses are clowns, but these maccaronies : 
To give them this title I'm sure is not wrong. 
Their legs are so slim, and their tails are so long. 

{Going L. 
Crab. There, ladies, done in the smack of a whip, and on 
horseback, too. 

Joseph S. [R.J A very Phoebus, mounted— indeed. Sir Ben- 

Sir B. O dear, sir ! trifles— trifles. 
Mrs. C. I must have a copy. 

Servant enters. 

Serv. {Announcing."] Lady Teazle ! 

Enter Lady Teazle. 

Lady S. Lady Teazle ! {Saluting Lady Teazle on both 
cheeks."] I hope we shall see Sir Peter? 
Lady T. I believe he'll wait on your ladyship presently. 

{Goes L. 
Mrs. C. {Advancing with Crabtree and SiR Benjamin.J 
Now, I'll die, but you are all so scandalous, I'll forswear your 
Lady T. What's the matter, Mrs. Candour ? 



Mrs. C. [L. C] They'll not allow our friend, Miss Vermilion, 
to be handsome. 

Lady S. [R. c] Oh, surely, she is a pretty woman. 

Crab, [r.] I am very glad you think so, ma'am. 

Mrs. C. She has a charming fresh color. 

Lady T. {Crosses, c] Yes, when it is fresh put on. 

Mrs. C. Oh, fie ! I'll swear her color is natural : I have 
seen it come and go. 

Lady T. I dare swear you have, ma'am : it goes off at night, 
and comes again in the morning. \_Crosses to c. 

Mrs. C. Ha 1 ha ! ha ! How I hate to hear you talk so 1 But 
surely now, her sister is, or was, very handsome. 

Crab. Who ? Mrs. Evergreen ? O Lord ! she's six and fifty 
if she's an hour. \_Crosses L. c. 

Mrs. C. Now positively you wrong her ; fifty-two or fifty- 
three is the utmost — and I don't think she looks more. 

Sir B. [R. C] Ah ! there's no judging by her looks, unless 
one could see her face. 

Mrs. C. [Crosses C.J Well, well, if Mrs. Evergreen does 
take some pains to repair the ravages of time, you must allow 
she effects it with great ingenuity ; and surely that's better 
than the careless manner in which the widow Ochre calks her 

Sir B. Come, come, 'tis not that she paints so ill — but when 
she has finished her face she joins it on so badly to her neck 
that she looks like a mended statue, in which the connoisseur 
may see at once that the head is modern, though the trunk is 

Crab. Ha ! ha ! ha ! Well said, nephew ! 
\Music is heard in the inner room and the guests pass to 
and fro.] 

Mrs. C. Ha ! ha ! ha ! Well, you make me laugh ; but I vow 
I hate you for it. What do you think of Miss Simper ? 

Sir B. Why, she has very pretty teeth. 

Lady T. Yes, and on that account, when she is neither 
speaking nor laughing (which very seldom happens), she never 
absolutely shuts her mouth, but leaves it always ajar, as it 
were — thus. {Shows her teeth. 



Mrs. C. How can you be so ill-natured ? 

Lady T. Nay, I allow even that's better thanthe pains Mrs. 
Prim takes to conceal her losses in front. She draws her mouth 
till it positively resembles the aperture of a poor's box, and all 
her words appear to slide out edgewise, as it were — thus. 
How do you do, madam f Yes, m.adam. \Mimics. 

Lady S. Very well, Lady Teazle ; I see you can be a little 

Servant. {Announces^ Sir Peter Teazle, 

Lady T. O lud ! here comes Sir Peter to spoil our pleas- 
antry. {^Crosses R. 
Enter Sir Peter Teazle. 

Sir P. Ladies, your most obedient. [Aside. \ Mercy on 
me ! here is the whole set ! a character dead at every word, I 

Mrs. C. I am rejoiced you are come, Sir Peter. They have 
been so censorious — they'll allow good qualities to nobody. 

Sir P. That must be very distressing to you, indeed, Mrs. 

Mrs. C. Not even good-nature to our friend Mrs. Pursy. 

Lady T. [c] . What, the fat dowager who was at Mrs. 
Quadrille's last night ? 

Mrs. C. Nay, but her bulk is her misfortune ; and when she 
takes such pains to get rid of it, you ought not to reflect on 

Lady S. That's very true, indeed. 

Lady T. Yes, I know she almost lives on acids and small 
whey ; laces herself by pulleys ; and often in the hottest noon 
in summer you may see her on a little squat pony, with her 
hair plaited up behind hke a drummer's, and puffing round the 
Ring on a full trot. {Imitates, going R. 

Mrs. C. I thank you, Lady Teazle, for defending her. 

Sir P. Yes, a good defence truly ! 

Sir B. Ah ! you are both of you too good-natured ! 

Sir P. Yes, confoundedly good-natured ! {Goes L. 

Sir B. And Mrs. Candour is of so moral a turn. 

Mrs. C. Well, I will never join ridiculing a friend ; and so I 



constantly tell my cousin Ogle ; and you all know what preten- 
sions she has to be critical on beauty. 

Crab. Oh, to be sure ! she has herself the oddest counte- 
nance that ever was seen ; 'tis a collection of features from all 
the different countries of the globe. 

Sir B. So she has, indeed — an Irish front. 

Crab. Caledonian locks — 

Sir B. Dutch nose — 

Crab. Austrian lips — 

Sir B. Complexion of a Spaniard — 

Crab. And teeth h la Chinois — 

Sir B. In short, her face resembles a table d'hdte at Spa — 
where no two guests are of a nation — 

Crab. Or a congress at the close of a general war — wherein 
all the members, even to her eyes, appear to have a different 
interest, and her nose and chin are the only parties likely to 
join issue. 

Mrs. C. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Sir P. Mercy on my life ! — a person they dine with twice a 
week. {Aside. 

Mrs. C. Nay, but I vow you shall not carry the laugh off so 
— for, give me leave to say, that Mrs. Ogle — 

Sir P. \_Crosses c. to Mrs. Candour.] Madam, madam, I 
beg your pardon — there's no stopping these good gentle- 
men's tongues. But when I tell you, Mrs. Candour, that the 
lady they are abusing is a particular friend of mine, I hope 
you'll not take her part. 

[Mrs. Candour goes up the stage. 

Lady S. Ha ! ha ! ha ! Well said. Sir Peter ! but you are a 
cruel creature — too phlegmatic yourself for a jest, and too 
peevish to allow wit in others. 

Sir P. Ah ! madam, true wit is more nearly allied to good- 
nature than your ladyship is aware of. 

{Goes up and joins Mrs. Candour. 

Lady T. True, Sir Peter ; I believe they are so near akin 
that they can never be united. 

Sir B. Or rather, suppose them man and wife, because one 
so seldom sees them together. 



Lady T. But Sir Peter is such an enemy to scandal, I believe 
he would have it put down by parliament. 

[Mrs. Candour and Lady Sneerwell come down each 
side of Sir Peter. 

Sir P. 'Fore heaven, madam, I would, and then no person 
should be permitted to kill characters and run down reputation 
but {between Mrs. Candour and Lady Sneerwell] quali- 
fied old maids and disappointed widows. \Goes L. 

Lady S. Go, you monster ! 

Mrs. C. But surely you would not be quite so severe on 
those who only report what they hear ? 

Sir P. Yes, madam, I would have law for them too ; and in 
all cases of slander currency, whenever the drawer of the lie 
was not to be found, the injured parties should have a right to 
come on any of the indorsers. 

Servant enters l. and whispers Sir Peter. 

Crab. Well, for my part, I believe there never was a scan- 
dalous tale without some foundation. 

All. Never ! Never ! 

Sir P. Nine times out of ten founded on some idle rumor 
or groundless misrepresentation. \To the SERVANT.] I'll be 
with them directly. {Exit SERVANT.] I'll get away unper- 
ceived. \A.part and going l. 

Lady S. Sir Peter, you are not going to leave us just as the 
dance begins. 

Sir P. Your ladyship must excuse me ; I'm called away by 
particular business. But I leave my character behind me. 

{Exit Sir Peter, l. 

Sir B. Well — certainly, Lady Teazle, that lord of yours is a 
strange being ; I could tell you some stories of him that would 
make you laugh heartily, if he were not your husband. 

Lady T. Oh, pray don't mind that ; — why don't you ? — 
Come, do let's hear them. \They all go up Q,., joining the rest 
of the company going into the inner room.} 

Joseph S. [Coming down from R. to l. with MARIA.] 
Maria, I see you have no satisfaction in this society. 



Maria. [L.J How is it possible I should ? — If to raise mali- 
cious smiles at the infirmities or misfortunes of those who 
have never injured us be the province of wit or humor 
Heaven grant me a double portion of dulness ! 

Joseph S. But can you, Maria, feel thus for others, and be 
unkind to me alone ? — Is hope to be denied the tenderest pas- 
sion ? 

Maria. Why will you distress me by renewing this subject ? 

Joseph S. Ah, Maria ! you would not treat me thus, and 
oppose your guardian. Sir Peter's will, but that I see that 
profligate Charles is still a favored rival. 

Maria. Ungenerously urged ! [Crossing R.] But whatever 
my sentiments are for that unfortunate young man, be assured 
I shall not feel more bound to give him up because his dis- 
tresses have lost him the regard even of a brother. 

[Going' up. 

Joseph S. [Following her and getting R.J Nay, but, Maria, 
do not leave me with a frown : by all that's honest, I swear. 
[Kneels.] Gad's life, here's Lady Teazle ! — You must not — 
no, you shall not — for, though I have the greatest regard for 
Lady Teazle [Lady Teazle advances l. c. 

Maria. Lady Teazle ! 

Joseph S. Yet, were Sir Peter to suspect — 

Lady T. What is this, pray ? [Maria goes L.J Child, you 
are wanted in the next room. [Exit Maria, C.J — What is all 
this, pray ? 

Joseph S. Oh, the most unlucky circumstance in nature ! 
Maria has somehow suspected the tender concern I have for 
your happiness, and threatened to acquaint Sir Peter with her 
suspicions, and I was just endeavoring to reason with her when 
you came in. 

Lady T. Indeed ! but you seemed to adopt a very tender 
method of reasoning — do you usually argue on your knees ? 

Joseph S. Oh, she's a child, and I thought a little bombast 
But, Lady Teazle, when are you to give me your judg- 
ment on my library, as you promised. 

Lady T. No, no ; I begin to think it would be imprudent, 
and although one must not be out of the fashion, I have so many 



of my country prejudices left, that, though Sir Peter's ill-humor 
may vex me ever so much, it never shall provoke me to 

Joseph S. The only revenge in your power. Well, I ap- 
plaud your moderation. 

Lady T. Go — you are an insinuating wretch. {^Crosses R.J — 
But we shall be missed — let us join the company. 

Joseph S. But we had better not return together. 

Lady T. Well — don't stay ; for Maria shan't come to hear 
any more of your reasoning, I promise you. 

[Lady Hy.KZ'L'B. goes up C. Music of Minuet. 

Joseph S. A curious dilemma, truly, my politics have run 
me into ! I wanted at first only to ingratiate myself with 
Lady Teazle, that she might not be my enemy with Maria ; 
and I have, I don't know how, become her serious lover. 
Sincerely, I begin to wish I had never made such a point of 
gaining so very good a character, for it has led me into so 
many confounded rogueries, that I doubt I shall be exposed 
at last. {Exit R. as Minuet begins. 




Scene I. — Sir Peter's House. An elegant Saloon. En- 
trances R. and L. 

Enter Lady Teazle and Sir Peter, l. 

Sir P. Lady Teazle, I'll not bear it. 

Lady T. [L.] Sir Peter, Sir Petef, you may bear it or not, as 
you please ; but I ought to have my own way in everything ; 
and what's more, I will, too. What ! though I was educated 
in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in 
London are accountable to nobody after they are married. 

Sir P. [r.J Very well, ma'am, very well — so a husband is 
to have no influence, no authority ? 

Lady T. Authority ! No, to be sure : — if you wanted au- 
thority over me, you should have adopted me, and not married 
me : I am sure you were old enough. 

[Crosses R. witii a sly laugh. 

Sir P. Old enough ! — ay — there it is. Well, well. Lady 
Teazle, though my life may be made unhappy by your temper, 
I'll not be ruined by your extravagance. 

Lady T. [^Arranging her hat at mirror, R.J My extrava- 
gance ! I'm sure I'm not more extravagant than a woman 
ought to be. 

Sir P. No, no, madam, you shall throw away no more 
sums on such unmeaning luxury. 'Slife ! to spend as much 
to furnish your dressing-room with flowers in winter as would 
suffice to give a f6te champStre at Christmas. 

Lady T. Lord, Sir Peter, am I to blame, because flowers 
are dear in cold weather ! ' You should find fault with the 
climate, and not with me. For my part, I am sure, I wish it 



was spring all the year round, and that roses grew under our 
feet ! {Goes L. 

Sir P. Oons ! madam, if you had been born to this, I 
shouldn't wonder at your talking thus ; but you forget what 
your situation was when I married you. 

Lady T. No, no, I don't ; 'twas a very disagreeable one, or 
I should never have married you. {Sits. 

Sir P. Yes, yes, madam, you were then in somewhat a 
humbler style : — the daughter of a plain country squire. 
Recollect, Lady Teazle, when I saw you first, sitting at your 
tambour, in a pretty iSgured linen gown, with a bunch of keys 
at your side ; your hair combed smooth over a roll, and your 
apartment hung round with fruits in worsted of your own 

Lady T. Oh, yes ! I remember it very well, and a curious 
life I led. My daily occupation to inspect the dairy, superin- 
tend the poultry, make extracts from the family receipt-book, 
and comb my aunt Deborah's lap-dog. 

Sir P. Yes, yes, ma'am, 'twas so, indeed. \Sits R. 

Lady T. And then, you know, my evening amusements ! 
To draw patterns for ruffles which I had not materials to make 
up ; to read a novel to my aunt ; \Rises.'\ or to be stuck down 
to an old spinet to strum my father to sleep after a fox-chase. 

{Goes L. 

Sir P. [r.J I am glad you have so good a memory. 
{Rises.'\ Yes, madam, these were the recreations I took you 
from ; but now you must have your coach — vis-h-vis — and 
three powdered footmen before your chair ; and in the sum- 
mer a pair of white cats to draw you to Kensington gardens. 
No recollection, I suppose, when you were content to ride 
double, behind the butler on a dock'd coach-horse. 

Lady T. [c.J No — I swear I never did that : I deny the 
butler and the coach-horse. {Goes L. 

Sir P. This, madam, was your situation ; and what have I 
done for you ? I have made you a woman of fashion, of for- 
tune, of rank ; in short, I have made you my wife. 

Lady T. Well, then — and there is but one thing more you 
can make me add to the obligation, and that is 

32 . ,■< 


Sir P. My widow, I suppose ? 

Lady T. Hem ! hem ! {^Crosses R. 

Sir P. I thank you, madam — but don't flatter yourself; for 
though your ill-conduct may disturb my peace of mind, it 
shall never break my heart, I promise you : however, I am 
equally obliged to you for the hint. 

Lady T. Then why will you endeavor to make yourself so 
disagreeable to me, and thwart me in every little elegant ex- 
pense ? \Going C. 

Sir P. [R.J 'Slife, madam, I say, had you any of these little 
elegant expenses when you married me ? 

Lady T. Lud, Sir Peter ! would you have me be out of the 
fashion ? 

Sir P. The fashion, indeed ! What had you to do with the 
fashion before you married me ? 

'^ Lady T. For my part, I should think you would like to have 
your wife thought a woman of taste. 

Sir P. Ay — there again — taste ! Zounds ! madam, you had 
no taste when you married me ! 

Lady T. \Laughs heartily at him, and he goes round to R.J 
That's very true indeed. Sir Peter, and after having married 
you I should never pretend to taste, again, I allow. But now. 
Sir Peter, since we have finished our daily jangle, I presume I 
may go to my engagement at Lady Sneerwell's. 

Sir P. Ay, there's another precious circumstance — a charm- 
ing set of acquaintance you have made there. 

Lady T. Nay, Sir Peter, they are all people of rank and for- 
tune, and remarkably tenacious of reputation. 

Sir P. Yes, egad, they are tenacious of reputation with a 
vengeance : for they don't choose anybody should have a char- 
acter but themselves ! — Such a crew !. Ah ! many a wretch 
has rid on a hurdle who has done less mischief than these ut- 
terers of forged tales, coiners of scandal, and clippers of reputa- 
tion. [Crosses L. 

Lady T. What ! would you restrain the freedom of 
speech ? 

Sir P. Ah ! they have made you just as bad as any oite of 
the society. 



Lady T. Why, I believe I do bear a part with a tolerable 
grace. ^ \^At mirror. 

\Sir P. Grace, indeed !/ 

Lady T. \_Coming C.J But I vow I bear no malice against 
the people I abuse. When I say an ill-natured thing 'tis out 
of pure good humor ; and I take it for granted they deal ex- 
actly in the same manner with me. 

Sir P. Well, well, I'll call in just to look after my own char- 

Lady T. Then indeed you must make haste after me, or 
you'll be too late. So good-by to ye. \Exit Lady Teazle, l. 

Sir P. l^Sits c.'\ So, I have gained much. by my intended ' 
expostulation : yet, with what a charming air she contradicts 
everything I say, and how pleasingly she shows her contempt 
for my authority ! Well, though I can't make her love me, 
there is great satisfaction in quarrelling with her ; and I think 
she never appears to such advantage as when she is doing 
everything in her power to plague me. 

Enter ROWLEY, L. D. 

Rowley. Oh ! Sir Peter, your servant ; how is it with you, 
sir ? 

Sir P. [Taking snuff.'] Very bad. Master Rowley, very 
bad. I meet with nothing but crosses and vexations. 

Row. [L.J What can have happened since yesterday ? 

Sir P. A good question to a married man ! 

Row. Nay, I'm sure. Sir Peter, your lady cannot be the 
cause of your uneasiness. 

Sir P. Why, has anybody told you she was dead ? [^Rises. 

Row. Come, come. Sir Peter, you love her, notwithstand- 
ing your tempers don't exactly agree. 

Sir P. But the fault is entirely hers, Master Rowley. I am, 
myself, the sweetest tempered man alive, and hate a teasing 
temper : and so I tell her a hundred times a day. 

Row. Indeed ! 

Sir P. Ay ! and what is very extraordinary, in all our dis- 
putes she is always in the wrong ! Then, to complete my vex- 
ations, Maria, my ward, whom I ought to have the power of a 



father over, is determined to turn rebel too, and absolutely re- 
fuses the man whom I have long resolved on for her husband ; 
meaning, I suppose, to bestow herself on his profligate brother. 

Row. You know, sir, I have always taken the liberty to 
differ with you on the subject of these two young gentle- 

Sir p. \^Sits c] You are wrong, Master Rowley. On their 
father's death, you know, I acted as a kind of guardian to them 
both, till their uncle Sir Oliver's Eastern liberality gave them 
an early independence : of course, no person could have more 
opportunities of judging of their hearts, and I was never mis- 
• taken in my life. Joseph is indeed a model for the young 
men of the age. He is a man of sentiment, and acts up to the 
sentiments he professes ; but for the other, take my word for't, 
if he had any grain of virtue by descent, he has dissipated it 
with the rest of his inheritance. 

Row. I am sorry to find you so violent against the young 
man, because this may be the most critical period of his for- 
tune. I came hither with news that will surprise you. 

Sir P. What ! let me hear. 

Row. Sir Oliver is arrived, and at this moment in town. 
Indeed, he will be shortly with you. 

Sir P. How ! — {Rises. '\ You astonish me ! I thought you 
did not expect him this month. 

Row. I did not ; but his passage has been remarkably quick. 
He will make his first call on you. 

Sir P. Egad, I shall rejoice to see my old friend. 'Tis six- 
teen years since we met. We have had many a day together. 
But does he still enjoin us not to inform his nephews of his 
arrival ? 

Row. Most strictly. He means, before it is known, to make 
some trial of their dispositions. 

Sir P. Ah ! there needs no art to discover their merits — 
however, he shall have his way ; but, pray, does he know I 
am married ? 

Row. Yes, and will soon wish you joy. 

Sir P. [^Crosses L.J What, as we drink health to a friend in 
a consumption ! Ah! Oliver will laugh at me. We used to 



rail at matrimony together : but he has been steady to his 
text. Well, I'll instantly give orders for his reception. But, 
Master Rowley, don't drop a word that Lady Teazle and I 
ever disagree. 

Row. By no means. 

Sir P. For I should never be able to stand Noll's jokes ; so 
I'd have him think, Lord forgive me ! that we are a very 
happy couple. 

Row. I understand you. But then you must be very care- 
ful not to differ while he is in the house with you. 

Sir P. Egad, and so we must — and that's impossible. Ah ! 
Master Rowley, when an old bachelor marries a young wife 
he deserves — no, the crime carries its punishment along with 
it. . \Crosses R. 

Enter SERVANT, L. D. 

Ser. Sir Oliver Surface, sir, is below. Sir Peter. \^Exit. 

Row. Come, let us go to him. 

Sir P. No, no, Master Rowley, I'd never dare to face Noll at 
this moment. [^Pushing him L.] Go you and receive him 
till I can regain my composure. And, Rowley, break the 
news of my marriage infelicity to him gently. Take the edge 
of his ridicule upon yourself, so that when we meet his jests 
will be easier to bear. Go to him. \^Exit ROWLEY, L. 

Sir P- When an old bachelor marries a young wife, what is 
he to expect ? 'Tis now six months since Lady Teazle made 
me the happiest of men — and I have been the most miserable 
dog ever since ! We tiffed a little going to church, and came to 
a quarrel before the bells had done ringing. I was more than 
once nearly choked with gall during the honeymoon, and had 
lost all comfort in life before my friends had done wishing me 
joy. I am sneered at by all my acquaintance, and paragraphed 
in the newspapers. She dissipates my fortune, and contradicts 
all my humors : yet, the worst of it is, I doubt I love her, or I 
should never bear all this. However, I'll never be weak 
enough to own it. [Exit SiR Peter, r. 



Enter Sir Oliver Surface and Rowley, l. 

Sir 0. [R.J Ha ! ha ! ha ! So my old friend is married, hey ? 
— a young wife out of the country — Ha ! ha ! ha ! That he 
should have stood bluff to old bachelor so long, and sink into 
a husband at last. 

Row. [L.J But you must not rally him on the subject. Sir 
Oliver : 'tis a tender point, I assure you, though he has been 
married only seven months. 

Sir 0. Then he has been just half a year on the stool of re- 
pentance ! Poor Peter ! \Sits C.J But you say he has en- 
tirely given up Charles — never sees him, hey ? 

Row. His prejudice against him is astonishing, and I am 
sure, greatly increased by a jealousy of him with Lady Teazle, 
which he has been industriously led into by a scandalous 
society in the neighborhood, who have contributed not a little 
to Charles' ill name. Whereas the truth is, I believe, if the 
lady is partial to either of them, his brother is the favorite. 

Sir 0. [r.J Ay, I know there are a set of malicious, prating, 
impudent gossips, both male and female, who murder charac- 
ters to kill time, and will rob a young fellow of his good name 
before he has years to know the value of it. But I am not to 
be prejudiced against my nephew by such, I promise you. 
No, no, if Charles has done nothing false or mean, I shall 
compound for his extravagance. 

Row. [L.J Then, my life on't you will reclaim him. Ah, 
sir ! it gives me new life to find that your heart is not turned 
against him ; and that the son of my good old master has 
one friend, however, left. 

Sir O. \^Rises.'\ What, shall I forget. Master Rowley, when 
I was at his years myself? Egad, my brother and I were 
neither of us very prudent youths : and yet, I believe, you 
have not seen many better men than your old master was. 

Row. Sir, 'tis this reflection gives me assurance that Charles 
may yet be a credit to his family. \Looking off R.J But here 
comes Sir Peter. {Goes a little up. 

Sir 0. Egad, so he does. Mercy on me ! — he's greatly al- 



tered — and seems to have a settled married look ! One may 
read husband in his face at this distance ! 

Enter Sir Peter Teazle, r. 

Sir P. [R.J Hah ! Sir Oliver — my old friend ! Welcome 
to England a thousand times ! 

Sir 0. [l.] Thank you— thank you, Sir Peter ! and i'faith 
I'm glad to find you well, believe me. 

Sir P. [r.] Oh ! tis a long time since we met — fifteen years, 
I doubt, Sir Oliver, and many a cross accident in the time. 

Sir 0. Ay, I have had my share. — But what ! I find you 
are married, hey, my old boy ? Well, well — it can't be helped 
— and so — I wish you joy with all my heart. 

[Servant serves wine to Sir Peter and Sir Oliver. 

Sir P. \Sits.\ Thank you, thank you, Sir Oliver. Yes, I 
have entered into — the happy state ; but we'll not talk of that 

Sir 0. {Sits.^ True, true, Sir Peter-: old friends should not 
begin on grievances at first meeting — no, no, no. 

Row. [l.] Take care, pray, sir. 

Sir 0. Well, so one of my nephews is a wild rogue, I find, 

Sir P. Wild ! Ah ! my old friend, I grieve for your disap- 
pointment there ; he's a lost young man, indeed. However, 
his brother will make you amends. Joseph is, indeed, what a 
youth should be. Everybody in the world SJieaks well of 
him. [Servant takes wine away. 

Sir 0. I am sorry to hear it ; he has too good a character to 
be an honest fellow. Everybody speaks well of him ! — Pshaw ! 
then he has bowed as low to knaves and fools as to the honest 
dignity of genius and virtue. 

Sir P. What, Sir Oliver ! do you blame him for not mak- 
ing enemies ? 

Sir 0. Yes, if he has merit enough to deserve them. But, 
however, don't mistake me, Sir Peter ; I don't mean to defend 
Charles's errors ; but before I form my judgment of either of 



them, I intend to make a trial of their hearts ; and my friend 
Rowley and I have planned something for the purpose. 

Row. And Sir Peter shall own for once he has been mis- 

Sir P. Oh ! my life on Joseph's honor. 

Sir 0. And my life on the other. 

Sir P. Well, well, but this plan of yours, Mr. Rowley. 

Row. [l.] Why, sir, it is this : There is a certain Mr. Stan- 
ley, who is nearly related to them by their mother. He was 
once a merchant in Dublin, but has been ruined by a series of 
undeserved misfortunes. He has applied, by letter, since his 
confinement, both to Mr. Surface and Charles ; from the former 
he has received nothing but evasive promises of future service, 
while Charles has done all that his extravagance has left him 
power to do ; and he is, at this time, endeavoring to raise a sum 
of money, part of which, in the midst of his own distresses, I 
know he intends for the service of poor Stanley. 

Sir O. [Rises, going R.] Ah ! he is my brother's son. 

Sir P. Well, but how is Sir Oliver personally to 

Row. Why, sir, I will inform Charles and his brother that 
Stanley has obtained permission to apply personally to his 
friends, arid as they have neither of them ever seen him, let Sir 
Oliver assume his character, and he will have a fair opportu- 
nity of judging, at least, of the benevolence of their dispo- 
sitions; and believe me, sir, you will find in the youngest 
brother one who, in the midst of folly and dissipation, has still, 
as our immortal bard expresses it, "a heart to pity, and a 
hand open as Say.for melting charity." [Goes L. 

Servant enters and whispers Rowley. 

Sir P. [C, rising.] Pshaw! What signifies his having an 
open hand or purse either, when he has nothing left to give ? 
Well, well — make the trial if you please. 

Sir O. [Crosses L. c] But where is the fellow whom you 
brought for me to examine, relative to Charles's affairs ? 

Row. Below, waiting your commands, and no one can give 
you better intelligence. This, Sir Oliver, is a friendly Jew, 



who, to do him justice, has done everything in his power to 
bring your nephew to a proper sense of his extravagance. 

Sir P. Pray, let us have him in. 

Row. Desire Mr. Moses to walk up-stairs. 

{Exit Servant. 

,Sir P. But pray, why should you suppose he will tell the 
truth ? 

Row. Oh ! l^Crosses C] I have convinced him that he has 
no chance of recovering certain sums advanced to Charles but 
through the bounty of Sir Oliver, who he knows is arrived ; 
so that you may depend on his fidelity to his own interests : 
I have also another evidence in my power, one Snake, whom 
I have detected in a matter little short of forgery, and shall 
shortly produce to remove some of your prejudices, Sir Peter, 
relative to Charles and Lady Teazle. 

Sir P. I have heard too much on that subject. {Goes up C. 

Row. Here comes the honest Israelite. {Going L. 

Enter MoSES, L. 

This is Sir Oliver. 

Sir 0. [c.J Sir, I understand you have lately had great 
dealings with my nephew, Charles. 

Moses. {Crosses to SiR Oliver.] Yes, Sir Oliver, I have 
done all I could for him ; but he was ruined before he came to 
me for assistance. 

Sir O. That was unlucky, truly ; for you had no opportun- 
ity of showing your talents. 

Moses. None at all ; I hadn't the pleasure of knowing his 
distresses till he was some thousands worse than nothing. 

Sir 0. Unfortunate, indeed ! But I suppose you have done 
all in your power for him, honest Moses ? 

Moses. Yes, he knows that ; — this very evening I was to have 
brought him a gentleman from the city, who does not know 
him, and will, I believe, advance him some money. 

^^y P. [r.] What, one Charles never had money from be- 
fore ? 



Moses. Yes — Mr. Premium, of Crutched Friars, formerly a 

Sir P. \Rises.\ Egad, Sir Oliver, a thought strikes me ! — 
\^Crosses c] Charles, you say, does not know Mr. Premium ? 
Moses. Not at all. 

Sir P. [c] Now then, Sir Oliver, you may have a better 
opportunity of satisfying yourself than' by any old romancing 
tale of a poor relation : go with my friend Moses, and represent 
Premium, and then, I'll answer for it, you'll see your nephew 
in all his glory. 

Sir 0. [R. C] Egad, I like this idea better than the other, 
and I may visit Joseph afterward, as old Stanley. 

Sir P. True, so you may. 

Row. Well, this is taking Charles rather at a disadvantage, 
to be sure ; however, Moses, you understand Sir Peter, and 
will be faithful ? 

Moses. You may depend upon me. {Looks at his waUk.] 
This is near the time I was to have gone. l^Going" up. 

Sir O. \_Following kim.^ I'll accompany you as soon as you 
please, Moses. But hold ! I have forgot one thing — how the 
plague shall I be able to pass for a Jew ? 

Moses. There's no need — the principal is Christian. 

Sir 0. Is he ? I'm very sorry to hear it. But then again, 
ain't I rather too smartly dressed to look like a money-lender ? 

Sir P. Not at all ; 'twould not be out of character, if you 
went in your own carriage, would it, Moses ? 

Moses. [^Crosses c] Not in the least. I keeps a trim little 
briskey myself. 

Sir 0. Well — but how must I talk ? — there's certainly some 
cant of usury and mode of treating that I ought to know. 

Sir P. Oh, thefe's not much to learn. The great point, as I 
take it, is to be exorbitant enough in your demands — hey, 
Moses ? 

Moses. Yes, that's a very great point. 

Sir 0. I'll answer for't I'll not be wanting in that. I'll ask 
him eight or ten per cent, on the loan at least. 

Moses. If you ask him no more than that you'll be discov- 
ered immediately. 



Sir 0. Hey ! — what the plague ! — how much then ? 

Moses. That depends upon the circumstances. If he appears 
not very anxious for the supply, you should require only forty 
or fifty per cent. ; but if you find him in great distress, and 
want the moneys very bad, you may ask double. 

Sir P. A good honest trade you're learning, Sir Oliver. 

Sir O. Truly, I think so — and not unprofitable. 

Moses. Then, you know, you haven't the moneys yourself, 
but are forced to borrow them for him from a friend. 

Sir 0. Oh ! I borrow it of a friend, do I ? 

Moses. Yes ; and your friend is an unconscionable dog : but 
you can't help that. 

Sir 0. My friend an unconscionable dog, is he ? 

Moses. Yes, and he himself has not the moneys by him, but 
is forced to sell sWck at a great loss. 

Sir 0. He is forced to sell stock at a great loss, is he ? Well, 
that's very kind of him. 

Sir P. V faith. Sir Oliver — Mr. Premium, I mean — ^you'll 
soon be master of the trade. 

Sir 0. Moses shall give me further instructions as we go to- 

Sir P. You will not have much time, for your nephew lives 
hard by. 

Sir 0. Oh, never fear : my tutor appears so able that though 
Charles lived in the next street, it must be my own fault if I 
am not a complete rogue before I turn the corner. 

Moses. It wont be my fault, Sir Oliver, if you're not a com- 
plete rogue before you get down-stairs. 

{^Exeunt SiR Oliver Surface and Moses, l. 

Sir P. So, now, I think Sir Oliver will be convinced : you 
are partial, Rowley, and would have prepared Charles for the 
other plot. 

Row. No, upon my word, Sir Peter. 

Sir P. Well, go bring me this Snake, and I'll hear what he 
has to say, presently. I see Maria, and want to speak 'with 
her. \^Exit RoWLEY, L.] I should be glad to be convinced my 
suspicions of Lady Teazle and Charles were unjust. I have 
never yet opened my mind on this subject to my friend Joseph 



— I am determined I will do it — he will give me his opinion 

Enter Maria, l. 

So, child, has Mr. Surface returned with you ? 

Maria. [L.J No, sir ; he was engaged. 

Sir P. [r.] Well, Maria, do you not reflect, the more you 
converse with that amiable young man, what return his partial- 
ity for you deserves ? 

Maria. Indeed, Sir Peter, your frequent importunity on this 
subject distresses me extremely — you compel me to declare 
that I know no man who has ever paid me a particular atten- 
tion whom I would not prefer to Mr. Surface. 

Sir P. So — here's perverseness ! No, no, Maria, 'tis Charles 
only whom you would prefer. 'Tis evident his vices and follies 
have won your heart. 

Maria. This is unkind, sir. You know I have obeyed you 
in neither seeing nor corresponding with him : I have heard 
enough to convince me that he is unworthy of my regard. Yet 
I cannot think it culpable, if, while my understanding severely 
condemns his vices, my heart suggests some pity for his dis- 

Sir P. Well, well, pity him as much as you please ; but give 
your heart and hand to a worthy object. 

Maria. Never to his brother. \Crosses, R. 

Sir P. Go — perverse and obstinate ! but take care, madam ; 
you have never yet known what the authority of a guardian is ; 
don't compel me to inform you of it. 

Maria. I can only say you shall not have just reason. 'Tis 
true, by my father's will, I am for a short period bound to re- 
gard you as his substitute ; but I must cease to think you so 
when you would compel me to be miserable. 

{Exit Maria, r. 

Sir P. Was ever man so crossed as I am ? Everything con- 
spiring to fret me ! I had not been involved in matrimony a 
fortnight before her father, a hale and hearty man, died, on 
purpose, I believe, for the pleasure of plaguing me with the 



care of his daughter. [LADY TEAZLE sings without. J [SONG. J 
But here comes my helpmate ! She appears in great good 
humor. How happy I should be if I could tease her into lov- 
ing me, though but a little ! 

Enter LADY Teazle, r. 

Lady T. Lud ! Sir Peter, I hope you hav'n't been quarrelling 
with Maria ? It is not using me well to be ill-humored when I 
am not by. 

Sir P. [l.] Ah ! Lady Teazle, you might have the power 
to make me good-humored at all times. 

Lady T. [r.] I am sure I wish I had ; for I want you to be 
m a charming sweet temper at this moment. Do be good- 
humored now and let me have two hundred pounds, will you ? 

Sir p. Two hundred pounds ! What, a' n't I to be in a good 
humor without paying for it? But speak to me thus, and 
i'faith there's nothing I could refuse you. You shall have it 
\Gives her notes'] ; but seal me a bond of repayment. 

Lady T. Oh no — there — my note of hand will do as well. 

{^Offering her hand. 

Sir P. And you shall no longer reproach me with not giv- 
ing you an independent settlement. I mean shortly to surprise 
you : but shall we always live thus, hey ? 

Lady T. If you please. I'm sure I don't care how soon we 
leave off quarrelling, provided you'll own you were tired first. 

Sir P. Well — then let our future contest be, who shall be 
most obliging. 

Lady T. I assure you, Sir Peter, good nature becomes you — 
you look now as you did before we were married, when you 
used to walk with me under the elms, and tell me stories of 
what a gallant you were in your youth, and chuck me under 
the chin, you would ; and ask me if I thought I could love an 
old fellow, who would deny me nothing — didn't you ? Didn't 
you ? 

Sir P. Yes, yes, and you were kind and attentive 

Lady T. Ay, so I was, and would always take your part 
when my acquaintance used to abuse you, and turn you into 



Sir P. Indeed ! 

Lady T. Ay, and when my cousin Sophy has called you a 
stiff, peevish old bachelor, and laughed at me for thinking of 
marrying one who might be my father, I have always defended 
you, and said, I didn't think you so ugly by any means. 

Sir P Thank you. 

Lady T. And I dared say you'd make a very good sort of a 

Sir P. And you prophesied right : and we shall now be the 
happiest couple 

Lady T. And never, never differ again ? [^Botk sit, C. 

Sir P. No, never, never ! — though at the same time, in- 
deed, my dear Lady Teazle, you must watch your temper very 
seriously ; for in all our little quarrels, my dear, if you will 
recollect, my love, you always begin first. 

Lady T. I beg your pardon, my dear Sir Peter ; indeed, you 
always gave the provocation. 

Sir P. Now see, my angel ! take care — contradicting isn't the 
way to keep friends. 

Lady T. Then don't you begin it, my love ! 

Sir P. There, now ! you — you are going on. Yoii don't per- 
ceive, my life, that you are just doing the very thing which you 
know always makes me angry. 

Lady T. Nay, you know if you will be angry without any 
reason, my dear 

Sir P. There ! now you want to quarrel again. 

Lady T. No, I am sure I don't : — but if you will be so pee- 
vish — 

Sir P. There now ! who begins first ? 

Lady T. Why you, to be sure. {Both start up.] I said 
nothing — but there's no bearing your temper. [Crosses, L. 

Sir P. No, no, madam ; the fault's in your own temper. 

[^Goifl£' R. 

Lady T. Ay, you are just what my cousin Sophy said you 
would be. 

Sir p. Your cousin Sophy is a forward, impertinent gypsy. 

Lady T. You are a great bear, I am sure, to abuse my re- 



Sir P. Now may all the plagues of marriage be doubled on 
me, if ever I try to be friends with you any more. 

Lady T. So much the better. 

Sir P. No, no, madam : 'tis evident you never cared a pin for 
me, and I was a madman to marry you — a pert, rural coquette, 
that had refused half the honest squires in the neighborhood. 

Lady T. And I am sure I was a fool to marry you — an old 
dangling bachelor, who was single at fifty, only because he never 
could meet with any one who would have him. [Crosses, L. 

Sir P. Ay, ay, madam ; but you were pleased enough to 
listen to me; you never had such an offer before. 

Lady T. No ! Didn't I refuse Sir Tivy Terrier, who every- 
body said would have been a better match ? for his estate is 
just as good as yours, and — he has broke his neck since we 
have been married. {Goes, L. 

Sir P. [r. J I have done with you, madam ! You are an un- 
feeling, ungrateful — but there's an end of everything. I be- 
lieve you capable of everything that is bad. Yes, madam, I 
now believe the reports relative to you and Charles, madam. 
Yes, madam, you and Charles are — not without grounds. . 

Lady T. [L.] Take care. Sir Peter ! you had better not in- 
sinuate any such thing ! I'll not be suspected without cause, 
I promise you. [Goes, R. 

Sir P. Very well, madam ! very well ! A separate mainte- 
nance as soon as you please ! 

Lady T. Very well ! A separate maintenance ! 

Sir P. Yes, madam, or a divorce ! 

Lady T. As you please ! A divorce ! 

Sir P. Very well, madam, a divorce ! — I'll make an exam- 
ple of myself for the benefit of all old bachelors. 

Lady T. Agreed ! agreed ! — And now, my dear Sir Peter, we 
are of a mind once more, we may be the happiest couple — and 
never, never — never differ again, you know — ha ! ha ! ha ! So 
by-by. [Exit, R. 

Sir P. Plagues and tortures ! Can't I make her angry 
either ! She may break my heart, but she shan't keep her 
temper. [Exit, L. 




Scene. — The Picture Gallery at Charles Surface's. Cur- 
tains in Arch at back concealing Dining-room. 

Enter Trip, Sir Oliver Surface, and Moses, r. 

Trip. Here, Master Moses ! if you'll stay a moment, I'll try 
whether — what's the gentleman's name ? 

Sir O. Mr. Moses, what is my name ? 

Moses. Mr. Premium. [^Crosses C. 

Trip. Premium — very well. 

[Exit Trip, taking snuff , behind curtain, C. 

Sir 0. [L.J To judge by the servants, one wouldn't believe 
the master was ruined. But what ! — sure, this was my 
brother's house ? 

Moses. [r.J Yes, sir ; Mr. Charles bought it of Mr. Joseph, 
with the furniture, pictures, etc., just as the old gentleman left 
it. Sir Peter thought it a piece of extravagance in him. 

\Goes r. 

Sir O. In my mind, the other's economy in selling it to him 
was more reprehensible by half. 

Re-enter Trip, c. 

Trip. My master says you must wait, gentlemen : he has 
company, and can't speak with you yet. 

Sir O. If he knew who it was wanted to see him, perhaps 
he would not send such a message. 

Trip. Yes, yes, sir : he knows you are here — I did not for- 
get little Premium, no, no, no. 

Sir O. Very well ; and I pray, sir, what may be your 
name ? 



Trip. Trip, sir ; my name is Trip, at your service. 

Sir 0. Well, then, Mr. Trip, you have a pleasant sort of 
place here, I guess ? 

Trip. Why, yes — here are three or four of us who pass our 
time agreeably enough ; but then our wages are sometimes a 
little in arrear — and not very great either — but fifty pounds a 
year, and find our own bags and bouquets. 

Sir 0. Bags and bouquets ! halters and bastinadoes ! 


Trip. KvlA, apropos, Moses — have you been able to get me 
that little bill discounted ? 

Sir O. Wants to raise money too ! mercy on me ! Has his 
distresses too, I warrant, like a lord, and affects creditors and 
duns. [Sits, and aside. 

Moses. [r.J 'Twas not to be done, indeed, Mr. Tripe. 

{Gives Trip the note. 

Trip, fc] Good lack, you surprise me ! My friend Brush 
has endorsed it, and I thought when he put his name at the 
back of a bill 'twas the same as cash. 

Moses. No ! 'twouldn't do. 

Trip. A small sum — but twenty pounds. Hark'ee, 
Moses, do you think you couldn't get it by way of an- 
nuity ? 

Sir 0. [l.J An annuity ! ha ! ha ! a footman raise money 
by way of annuity ! Well done, luxury, egad ! {Aside. 

Moses. Well, but you must insure your place. 

Trip. Oh, with all my heart ! I'll insure my place, and my 
life too, if you please. 

Sir 0. It's more than I would your neck. {Aside. 

Moses. But is there nothing you could deposit ? 

Trip. Why, nothing capital of my master's wardrobe has 
dropped lately ; {Bell rings, C. j but I could give you a mort- 
gage on some of his winter clothes, with equity of redemption 
before November — or you shall have the reversion of the 
French velvet, or a post-obit on the blue and silver : {Bell 
rings, C.j these, I should think, Moses, with a few pair of 
point ruffles, as a collateral security. {Bell rings, c] Egad, 
{Crosses, c] I heard the bell, I believe ! Gentlemen, I can 



introduce you presently ; step this way for a moment ! Don't 
forget th& annuity, little Moses ! This way, gentlemen. I'll 
insure my place, you know. [^Opens door, L. 

Sir 0, If the man be a shadow of the master, this is the 
temple of dissipation indeed ! [^Exeunt, L. 

[Trip returns and draws the curtains at back. CHARLES 
Surface, Careless, slightly tipsy, Sir Harry, etc. , 
come forward as if from table, the end of which is seen 
off R. Servants bring wine and serve it. Trip exit, L. J 

Charles S. 'Fore heaven, 'tis true ! — there's the great de- 
generacy of the age. Many of our acquaintance have taste, 
spirit, and politeness ; but, plague on't, they won't drink wine. 

Care. It is so indeed, Charles ! They give into all the sub- 
stantial luxuries of the table, and abstain from nothing but 
wine and wit. 

Sir H. \Seated on lounge, R.J But what are they to do who 
love play better than wine ? 

Charles S. For my part, egad ! I am never so successful as 
when I am a little merry : let me throw on a bottle of cham- 
pagne, and I never lose. 

All. Hey, what ? 

Charles S. At least, I never feel my losses, which is exactly 
the same thing. 

Care. Ay, that I believe. 

Charles S. And then, what man can pretend to be a behever 
in love who is an abjurer of wine ? 'Tis the test by which the 
lover knows his own heart. Fill a dozen bumpers to a dozen 
beauties, and she that floats at the top is the maid that has 
bewitched you. 

Care. Now, then, Charles, be honest, and give us your real 

Charles S. Why, I have withheld her only in compassion to 
you. If I toast her, you must give a round of her peers, which 
is impossible — on earth. 

Care. Oh ! then we'll find some canonized vestals or heathen 
goddesses that will do, I warrant. 



Charles S. Here then, bumpers, you rogues ! bumpers ! 
Maria ! Maria ! 

Sir H. Maria who ? 

Charles S. Oh, damn the surname — 'tis too formal to be 
registered in love's calendar. Maria ! 

Care. Down goes Maria ! 

All. Maria! {They drink. 

Charles S. But now. Sir Harry, beware, we must have 
beauty superlative. 

Care. Nay, never study. Sir Harry : we'll stand to the toast, 
though your mistress should want an eye, and you know you 
have a song will excuse you. 

Sir H. Egad, so I have ! and I'll give him the song instead 
of the lady. 


Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen ; 

Here's to the widow of fifty ; 
Here's to the flaunting extravagant quean. 
And here's to the housewife that's thrifty. 
Chorus. Let the toast pass. 
Drink to the lass, 
I'll warrant she'll prove an excuse for the glass. 

Here's to the charmer whose dimples we prize ! 

Now to the maid who has none, sir : 
Here's to the girl with a pair of blue eyes, 

And here's to the nymph with but one, sir. 
Chorus. Let the toast pass, etc. 

For let 'em be clumsy, or let 'em be slim. 

Young or ancient, I care not a feather ; 
So fill up your glasses, nay, fill to the brim. 

And let us e'en toast them together. 
Chorus, Let the toast pass, etc. 

All. Bravo ! bravo ! 

Enter Trip, l., and whispers Charles Surface. 

Charles S. \Rises.\ Gentlemen, you must excuse me a little. 



Care. Nay, prithee, Charles, what now ? This is one of 
your peerless beauties, I suppose, has dropt in by chance ? 

Charles S. No, faith ! To tell the truth, 'tis a Jew and a 
broker, who are come by appointment. 

Care. Oh, hang it ! let's have the Jew in. 

Sir H. Ay, and the broker too, by all means. 

Care. Yes, yes, the Brew and the Joker. 

Charles S. Egad, with all my heart ! Trip, bid the gentle- 
men walk in — \Exit Trip, r.] — though there's one of them a 
stranger, I can assure you. 

Care. Charles, let us give them some generous Burgundy, 
and perhaps they'll grow conscientious. 

Charles S. Oh, hang 'em, no! wine does but draw forth a 
man's natural qualities ; and to make them drink would only be 
to whet their knavery. 


cross to L. 

Charles S. So, honest Moses, walk in ; walk in, pray, Mr, 
Premium — that's the gentleman's name ; isn't it, Moses ? 

Moses. Yes, sir. 

Charles S. Set chairs. Trip — sit down, Mr. Premium — 
glasses. Trip — sit down, Moses. [ They sit R. c] Come, Mr. 
Premium, I'll give you a sentiment; here's Success to usury! 
Fill the gentleman a bumper. 

Moses. Success to usury ! 

Care. Right, Moses — usury is prudence and industry, and 
deserves to succeed. 

Sir O. Then — here's all the success it deserves ! 

Care. [Rising and coming forward.'\ No, no, that won't do ! 
Mr. P-remium ; you have demurred at the toast, and must 
drink it in a pint bumper. 

Sir H. [Rising and advancing. '\ A pint bumper, at least. 

Moses. Oh, pray, sir, consider — Mr. Premium!s a gentleman. 

Care. And therefore loves good wine. 

Sir H. Give Moses a quart glass — this is mutiny, and a high 
contempt for the chair. 



Charles S. No, hang it, you shan't ! Mr. Premium's a 

Care. Plague on 'em, then, if they won't drink ! Come, 
Harry, \Taking his arm and going up C] the dice are in the 
next room. Charles, you'll join us when you have finished 
your business with the gentlemen ? 

Charles S. I will ! I will ! [Exeunt all the gentlemen through 
arch, C, singing.] Careless ! 

Care. [Returning.'] Well ! 

Charles S. Perhaps I may want you. 

Care. Oh, you know I am always ready : word or bond, 'tis 
all the same to me. [Exit. 

Moses. Sir, this is Mr. Premium, a gentleman of the strictest 
honor and secrecy ; and always performs what he undeirtakes. 
Mr. Premium, this is — 

Charles S. [Putting MoSES across to L.] Pshaw ! have done. 
— Sir, my friend Moses is a very honest fellow, but a little 
slow at expression : he'll be an hour giving us our titles. Mr. 
Premium, the plain state of the matter is this : I am an ex- 
travagant yoimg fellow, who want money to borrow — you I 
take to be a prudent old fellow, who has got money to lend. 
I am blockhead enough to give fifty per cent, sooner than not 
have it ; and you, I presume, are rogue enough to take a hun- 
dred if you can get it. Now, sir, you can see we are acquainted 
at once, and may proceed to business without further cere- 

Sir 0. Exceeding frank upon my word. I see, sir, you are 
not a man of many compliments. 

Charles S. Oh, no, sir ; plain dealing in business I always 
think best. 

Sir 0. Sir, I like you the better for it. However, you are 
mistaken in one thing ; I have no money to lend, but I be- 
lieve I could procure some of a friend ; but then he's an un- 
conscionable dog ; [Crosses c] isn't he, Moses ? And must 
sell stock to accommodate you — mustn't he, Moses ? 

Moses. Yes, indeed ! You know I always speak the truth, 
and scorn to tell a lie ! 

Charles S. Right. People that speak truth generally do ; 



but these are trifles, Mr. Premium. What ! I know money 
isn't to be bought without paying for't ! 

Sir O. Well, but what security could you give ? You have 
no land, I suppose ? 

Charles S. Not a mole-hill, nor a twig, but what's in the 
bough-pots out of the window ! 

Sir O. Nor any stock, I presume ? 

Charles S. Nothing but live stock — and that's only a few 
pointers and ponies. But pray, Mr. Premium, are you ac- 
quainted at all with any of my connections ? 

Sir O. Why, to say truth, I am. 

Charles S. Then you must know that I have a dev'lish rich 
uncle in the East Indies, Sir Oliver Surface, from whom I have 
the greatest expectations. 

Sir O. That you have a rich uncle I have heard ; but how 
your expectations will turn out, is more, I beheve, than you 
can tell. 

Charles S. Oh, no, there can be no doubt. They tell me 
I'm a prodigious favorite, and that he talks of leaving me 

Sir 0. Indeed ! this is the first I've heard of it. 

Charles S. Yes, yes, 'tis just so — [^Crosses C] Moses knows 
'tis true ; don't you, Moses ? 

Sir 0. [R.J Egad, they'll persuade me presently I'm at 
Bengal. \_Aside. 

Charles S. Now I propose, Mr. Premium, if it's agreeable 
to you, a post-obit on Sir Oliver's life : though at the same 
time, the old fellow has been so liberal to me that I give you 
my word I should be sorry to hear anything had happened 
to him. 

Sir 0. Not more than I should, I assure you. But the bond 
you mention happens to be just the worst security you could 
offer me — for I might live to a hundred and never see the 

Charles S. Oh, yes, you would — the moment Sir Oliver 
dies, you know, you would come on me for the money. 

Sir 0. Then I believe I should be the most unwelcome dun 
you ever had in your life. 



Charles S. What ! I suppose you're afraid that Sir Oliver is 
too good a life ! 

Sir 0. No, indeed, I am not ; though I have heard he is as 
hale and healthy as any man of his years in Christendom. 

Charles S. There again, now, you are misinformed. No, 
no, the climate has hurt him considerably, poor uncle Oliver ! 
Yes, yes, he breaks apace, I'm told — and is so much altered 
lately, that his nearest relations would not know him ! 

Sir 0. No ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! so much altered lately that his 
nearest relations would not know him ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! egad — 
■ Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Charles S. Ha ! ha ! — you're glad to hear that, little Pre- 

Sir 0. No, no, I'm not. 

Charles S, Yes, yes, you are — ha ! ha ! ha ! — You know 
that mends your chance. 

Sir 0. But I am told Sir Oliver is coming over ? — nay, 
some say he is actually arrived ? 

Charles S. Pshaw ? Sure I must know better than you 
whether he's come or not. No, no ; rely on't, he's at this 
moment at Calcutta — isn't he, IVloses ? 

Moses. O, yes, certainly. I'll take my oath of it. 

Sir 0. Very true, as you say, you must know better than 
I, though I have it from pretty good authority — hav'n't I, 
Moses ? 

Moses. [l.J Yes, most undoubted ! I'll take my oath of it. 

Sir O. [r.] But, sir, as I understand, you want a few hun- 
dreds immediately — is there nothing you could dispose of? 

Charles S. [c] How do you mean ? 

Sir O. For instance, now, I have heard that your father left 
behind him a great quantity of massy old plate. 

Charles S. O Lud ! that's gone long ago. Moses can tell 
you how better than I can. 

Moses. Yes, I popped them in the crucible myself. 

Sir 0. Good lack ! all the family race-cups and corporation 
bowls. [Aside.] Then it was also supposed that his library 
was one of the most valuable and complete. 

Charles. S. Yes, yes, so it was — vastly too much so for a 



private gentleman. For my part, I was always of a communi- 
cative disposition, so I thought it a shame to keep so much 
knowledge to myself. 

Sir 0. Mercy upon me ! Learning that had run in the 
family like an heir-loom ! [Aside. \ Pray, what are become 
of the books ? 

Charles S. You must inquire of the auctioneer. Master 
Premium, for I don't believe even Moses can direct you. 

Moses. I know nothing of books, except the books of in- 

Sir 0. So, so, nothing of the family property left, I sup- 

Charles S. Not much indeed ; unless you have a mind to 
the family pictures. I have got a room full of ancestors here, 
and if you have a taste for old paintings, egad, you shall have 
'em a bargain. 

Sir O. Hey ! what the devil ? Sure, you wouldn't sell your 
forefathers, would you ? 

Charles S. Every man of them, to the best bidder. 

Sir 0. What ! your great uncles and aunts ? 

Charles S. Ay, and my great grandfathers and grand- 
mothers too. 

Sir 0. Now I give him up. [Aside.'l What the plague, 
have you no bowels for your own kindred ? Odd's life, do 
you take me for Shylock in the play, that you would raise 
money of me on your own flesh and blood ? 

Charles S. Nay, my little broker, don't be angry ; what 
need you care if yoii have your money's worth ? 

Sir 0. Well, I'll be the purchaser : I think I can dispose of 
the family canvas. Oh, I'll never forgive him this ! never ! 

{Crosses L. Aside. 

Enter CARELESS /w»2 C. 

Care. Come, Charles, what keeps you ? 
Charles S. I can't come yet : i'faith, we are going to have 
a sale here : — Little Premium will buy all my ancestors. 
Care. Oh, burn your ancestors ! 



Charles S. No, he may do that afterward, if he pleases. 
Stay, Careless, we want you : egad you shall be auctioneer. 

Care. Oh, have with you, if that's the case. I can handle a 
hammer as well as a dice-box. Going ! going ! {Going R. 

Sir 0. Oh, the profligates ! {Aside. 

Charles S. Come, Moses, you shall be appraiser, if we want 
one. Gad's life, little Premium, you don't seem to like the 
business ? {Crosses L. C. 

Sir 0. Oh, yes, I do vastly. Ha ! ha ! ha ! yes, yes, I think 
it a rare joke to sell one's family by auction — ha ! ha ! Oh, 
the prodigal ! {Aside. 

Charles S. To be sure ! when a man wants money, where 
the plague should he get assistance if he can't make free with 
his own relations ? 

Sir 0. I'll never forgive him : never ! never ! 

Charles S. Look around you, gentlemen ; look about you — 
here they are, the family of the Surfaces, up to the Conquest. 

Sir O. Ah ! we shall never see such figures of men again. 

Charles S. I hope not. — Well, you see. Master Premium, 
what a domestic character I am : here I sit of an evening sur- 
rounded by my family. — But, come, get to your pulpit, Mr. 
Auctioneer ; here's an old gouty chair of my grandfather's 
will answer the purpose. {Brings chair forward, c. 

Care. Ay, ay, this will do. — But, Charles, I haven't a 
hammer ; and what's an auctioneer without his hammer ? 

Charles S. Egad, that's true. {Taking pedigree down from 
back.\ What parchment have we here ? Oh, our genealogy 
in full. Here, Careless — you shall have no common bit of ma- 
hogany ; here's the family-tree for you, you rogue — this shall 
be your hammer, and now you may knock down my ancestors 
with their own pedigree. 

Sir 0. [l.J What an unnatural rogue ! — an ex post facto 
parricide ! {Aside. 

Care. Yes, yes, here's a list of your generation indeed ; faith 
Charles, this is the most convenient thing you could have 
found for the' business, for 'twill not only serve as a hammer, 
but a catalogue into the bargain. Come, begin — A-going, a- 
going, a-going ! 



Charles S. Bravo, Careless ! Well, here's my great uncle, 
Sir Richard Raveline, a marvellous good general in his day, I 
assure you. He served in all the Duke of Marlborough's wars, 
and got that cut over his eye at the battle of Malplaquet. 
What say you, Mr. Premium ? — look at him — there's a hero, 
not cut out of his feathers, as your modern dipt captains are, 
but enveloped in wigs and regimentals, as a general should be. 
What do you bid ? 

Sir 0. {Aside to MoSES.] Bid him speak. 

Moses. Mr. Premium would have you speak. 

Charles S. Why, then, he shall have him for ten pounds, 
and I'm sure that's not dear for a staff ofificer. 

Sir 0. Heaven deliver me ! his famous uncle Richard 
for ten pounds ! \Aside.\ Very well, sir, I take him at 

Charles S. Careless, knock down my uncle Richard. Here, 
now, is a maiden sister of his, my great aunt Deborah, done 
by Kneller in his best manner, and esteemed a very formidable 
likeness. There she is, you see, a shepherdess feeding her 
flock. You shall have her for five pounds ten — the sheep are 
worth the money. 

Moses. They're sheep at half the price. 

Sir O. Ah ! poor Deborah ! a woman who set such a value 
on herself ! [Aside.] Five pounds ten — she's mine. 

Charles S. Knock down my aunt Deborah, Careless ! This 
now, is a grandfather of my mother's, a learned judge, well 
known on the western circuit. What do you rate him at, 
Moses ? 

Moses. Four guineas. 

Charles S. Four guineas ! Gad's life, you don't bid me the 
price of his wig. Mr. Premium, you have more respect for the 
woolsack ; do let us knock his lordship down at fifteen. 

Sir O. By all means. 

Care. Gone ! 

Charles S. And there are two brothers of his, William and 
Walter Blunt, Esquires, both members of parliament, and 
noted speakers ; and what's very extraordinary, I believe, this 
is the first time they were ever bought or sold. 


Sir 0. That is very extraordinary indeed ! I'll take them 
at your own price, for the honor of parliament. [^Crosses. 

Care. \Vell said, little Premium ! I'll knock them down at 

Charles S. Here's a jolly fellow — I don't know what re- 
lation, but he was mayor of Norwich ; take him at eight 

Sir 0. No, no ; six will do for the mayor. 

Charles S. Come, make it guineas, and I throw the two 
aldermen there into the bargain. 

Sir 0. They're mine. 

Charles S. Careless, knock down the mayor and aldermen. 

Moses. Six guineas for the mayor and alderman — what's to 
become of the corporation ? 

Charles S. But, plague on't, we shall be all day retailing in 
this manner ; do let us deal wholesale ; what say you, little 
Premium ? Give me three hundred pounds, and take all that 
remains on this side in a lump. 

Care. Ay, ay, that will be the best way. 

Charles S. Careless, knock down this side of the room ! 

Care. Going, going, gone ! {^Knocks MoSES. 

Moses. But, Mr. Charles, I ain't this side of the room ! 

Sir 0. Well, well, anything to accommodate you — they are 
mine. But there is one portrait which you have always passed 

Care. [^Having put the chair away, comes forward, L.J 
What, that ill-looking little fellow over the settee ? 

Sir O. Yes, yes, I mean that, though I don't think him so 
ill-looking a little fellow by any means. 

Charles S. What, that ? Oh ! that's my uncle Oliver ; 'twas 
done before he went to India. 

Care. Your uncle Oliver? Gad, then you'll never be friends, 
Charles. That, now, to me, is as stern a looking rogue as ever 
I saw ; an unforgiving eye, and a confounded disinheriting 
countenance ! an inveterate knave, depend on't. Don't you 
think so, little Premium ? 

{Crosses R. Slapping him on the shoulder. 

Sir 0. [Crosses c] Upon my soul, sir, I do not ; I think it 



as honest a looking face as any in the room, dead or alive ; but 
I suppose uncle Oliver goes with the rest of the lumber ? 

Charles S. No, hang it ; I'll never part with poor Noll. The 
old fellow has been very good to me, and, egad, I'll keep his 
picture while I've a room to put it in. 

Sir 0. [C] The rogue's my nephew after all ! \Aside.\ 
But, sir, I have somehow taken a fancy to that picture. 

Charles S. [L.J I'm sorry for't, for you certainly will not 
have it. Oons, haven't you got enough of them ? 

Sir 0. I forgive him everything ! \Aside7\, But, sir, when 
I take a whim in my head I don't value money. I'll give you 
as much for that as for all the rest. 

Charles S. Don't tease me. Master Broker ; I tell you I'll 
not part with it, and there's an end of it. [^Crosses to R. 

Sir O. How like his father the dog is ! {Aside. ^ Well, 
well, I have done. I did not perceive it before, but I think 
I never saw such a resemblance. [Aside.] Here is a draft 
for your sum. [Crosses R. c. Taking it out of his pocket-book. 

Charles S. Why, 'tis for eight hundred pounds. 

Sir O. You will not let Sir Oliver go ? 

Charles S. Zounds! no! — I tell you once more. 

Sir 0. Then never mind the difference, we'll balance that 
another time — but give me your hand on the bargain ; you are 
an honest fellow, Charles — I beg your pardon, sir, for being so 
free. Come, Moses. [Crosses, R. 

Charles S. [C] Egad, this is a whimsical old fellow! But 
hark'ee, Premium, you'll prepare lodgings for these gentlemen ? 

Sir 0. [l.] Yes, yes, I'll send for them in a day or two. 

Charles S. But hold ; do now send a genteel conveyance for 
them, for I assure you they were most of them used to ride in 
their own carriages. [Crosses L. 

Sir 0. I will, I will — for all but Oliver. 

Charles S. Ay, all but the little nabob. 

Sir 0. You're fixed on that ? 

Charles S. Peremptorily. [Crosses L. 

Sir 0. A dear, extravagant rogue ! [Aside.] Good-day ! 
Come, Moses. Let me hear now who dares call him profli- 
gate ! [Exeunt SiR Oliver Surface and Moses, r. 



Care. Why, this is the oddest genius of the sort I ever met 

Charles S. Egad, he's the prince of brokers, I think. I 
wonder how the devil Moses got acquainted with so honest a 
fellow. But, Careless, say I'll join the company in a few mo- 

Care. [R.J I will — don't let anyone persuade you to squan- 
der any of that money on old musty debts, or any such non- 
sense ; for tradesmen, Charles, are the most exorbitant fellows. 

Charles S. [L.J Very true, and paying them is only encourag- 
ing them. Ay, ay, never fear. \Exit CARELESS, R. U. E.J 
Let me see— two-thirds of this, five hundred and thirty odd 
pounds, are mine by right. 

Enter Rowley. 

Hah ! Rowley ! egad, you are just come in time to take leave 
of your old acquaintances. 

Row. [L.J Yes, I heard the family portraits were agoing. 
There's no making you serious a moment. 

Charles S. Yes, faith, I am so now. Here, my honest Row- 
ley, here, get me this changed directly, and take a hundred 
pounds of it immediately to old Stanley. 

Row. A hundred pounds ! Consider only 

Charles S. Gad's life, don't talk about it ; poor Stanley's 
wants are pressing, and if you don't make haste we shall have 
some one call that has a better right to the money. 

Row. Ah, there's the point ! I will never cease dunning you 
with the old proverb 

Charles S. " Be just before you are generous." Why, so I 
would if I could ; but Justice is an old hobbling beldame, and 
I can't get her to keep pace with Generosity, for the soul of me. 

Row. Yet, one hour's reflection 

Charles S. Hark'ee, Rowley, while I have, by heaven I'll 
give ; so hang your economy, and away to old Stanley with 
the money. [^;i;?V ROWLEY.J 'Fore Heaven! I find one's ances- 
tors are more valuable relations than I took them for ! Ladies 
and gentlemen, your most obedient and very grateful servant. 



Scene. — Joseph Surface's library. Servant discovered at 


Enter JOSEPH SURFACE. Goes to table ; looks over some 


Joseph S. No letter from Lady Teazle ? 

Serv. No, sir. 

Joseph S. I am surprised she has not sent, if she is pre- 
vented from coming. {Knocking. 

Serv. Sir, I believe thjat must be Lady Teazle. 

Joseph S. Hold. See whether 'tis or not. I have a particu- 
lar message for you if 'tis my brother. [^Exit SERVANT. J Sir 
Peter certainly does not suspect me. Yet I hope I may not 
lose the heiress through the scrape I've drawn myself into with 
the wife. However, Charles's imprudence and bad character 
are great points in my favor. 

Enter Servant, l. 

Serv. Mr. Stanley, sir. 

Joseph S. Don't admit him. 

Serv. Sir, I should not have let him in, but that Mr. Rowley 
came to the door with him. 

Joseph S. Pshaw ! blockhead ! to suppose that I should now 
be in a temper to receive visits from poor relations ! Well, 
why don't you show the fellow up ? \_Exit Servant, l.] 
Sure Fortune never played a man of my policy such a trick 
before. My character with Sir Peter, my hopes with Maria 
destroyed in a moment ! I'm in a rare humor to listen to 
other people's distresses ? I shan't be able to bestow even a 



benevolent sentiment on old Stanley. I must try to put a little 
charity into my face, however. 

Enter Sir Oliver, l. 

Sir 0. I don't like the complaisance of his features. 

Joseph S. Sir, I beg you ten thousand pardons for keeping 
you a moment waiting — Mr. Stanley, I presume. 

Sir 0. [L.J At your service. 

Joseph S. Sir, I beg you will do me the honor to sit down — 
I entreat you, sir ! 

Sir 0. Dear sir — there's no occasion — too civil by half ! 

[^Aside. Sitting, L. 

Joseph 8. I have not the pleasure of knowing you, Mr. Stan- 
ley ; but I am extremely happy to see you look so well. You 
were nearly related to my mother, Mr. Stanley, I think ? 

Sir 0. I was, sir ; so nearly that my present poverty, I 
fear, may do discredit to her wealthy children, else I should 
not have presumed to trouble you. 

Joseph S. Dear sir, there needs no apology : he that is in 
distress, though a stranger, has a right to claim kindred with 
the wealthy. I am sure I wish I was one of that class, and had 
it in my power to offer you even a small relief. 

Sir 0. If your uncle. Sir Oliver, were here, I should have a 

Joseph 8. My dear sir. Sir Oliver is a worthy man, a very 
worthy man ; but avarice, Mr. Stanley is the vice of age. I 
will tell you, my good sir, in confidence, what he has done 
for me has been a mere nothing, though people, I know, 
have thought otherwise ; and for my part I never chose to 
contradict the report. 

Sir 0. What ! has he never transmitted you bullion — rupees 
— pagodas ? 

Joseph 8. O dear sir, nothing of the kind. No, no — a few 
presents now and then — china, shawls, congou tea, avadavats, 
and Indian crackers — little more, believe me. 

Sir 0. [Aside.] Here's gratitude for twelve thousand pounds ! 



Avadavats and Indian crackers. [Aloud.~\ Then, sir, you 
can't assist me ? [Rises. 

Joseph S. At present it grieves me to say"! cannot ; [Rises.] 
but whenever I have the ability, you may depend upon hear- 
ing from me. 

Sir O. I am extremely sorry 

Joseph S. Not more than I, believe me ; to pity without the 
power to relieve is still more painful than to ask and be 

Sir 0. Kind sir, your most obedient humble servant. 

Joseph S. You leave me deeply affected, Mr. Stanley. Will- 
iam, be ready to open the door. 

Enter Servant, l., standing by door. 

Sir O. Oh, dear sir, no ceremony. 

Joseph S. Your very obedient. 

Sir O. Sir, your most obsequious. 

Joseph S. You may depend upon hearing from me when- 
ever I can be of service. 

Sir 0. Sweet sir, you are too good 1 

Joseph S. In the meantime I wish you health and spirits. 

Sir 0. Your ever grateful and perpetual humble servant. 

Joseph S. Sir, yours as sincerely. 

Sir 0. Now I'm satisfied. \^Aside.] Charles, you are my 
heir. [^Exit, L. 

Joseph 8. This is one bad effect of a good character ; it in- 
vites application from the unfortunate, [Knocking.] and there 
needs no small degree of address to gain the reputation of 
benevolence without incurring the expense. 

Enter Servant, l. 

Serv. 'Tis her ladyship, sir ; she always leaves her chair at 
the milliner's in the next street. 

Joseph S. Stay, stay ; draw that screen before the window 
[Servant does so.] — that will do ; my opposite neighbor is 
a lady of a curious temper. [Servant ^;j:?V.] I have a diffi- 



cult hand to play in this affair. Lady Teazle 'has | lately sus- 
pected my views on Maria ; but she must by no means be let 
into the secret — at least, till I have her more in my power. 

[Joseph sits at R., near fire. 

Enter LADY Teazle, l. 

Lady T. What, sentiment in soliloquy now ? Have you 
been very impatient? [Joseph rises. '\ O Lud ! don't pretend 
to look grave. I vow I couldn't come before. {Crosses to fire. 

Joseph S. [c] Oh, madam, punctuality is a species of con- 
stancy very unfashionable in a lady of quality. 

{Places chairs, and sits after LADY TEAZLE is seated. 

Lady T. [R.J Upon my word you ought to pity me. Do 
you know Sir Peter is grown so ill-natured to me of late, and 
so jealous of Charles, too — that's the best of the story, isn't it ? 

Joseph S. {Aside.'] I am glad my scandalous friends keep 
that up. 

Lady T. I am sure I wish he would let Maria marry him, and 
then perhaps he would be convinced ; don't you, Mr. Surface ? 

Joseph S. Indeed I do not. {Aside.] Oh, certainly, cer- 
tainly, for then my dear Lady Teazle would be also convinced 
how wrong her suspicions were of my having any design on the 
silly girl. 

Lady T. Well, well, I'm inclined to believe you. But isn't 
it provoking, to have the most ill-natured things said of one ! 
— And there's my friend. Lady Sneerwell, has circulated I 
don't know how many scandalous tales of me, and all without 
any foundation too — that's what vexes me. 

Joseph S. Ay, madam, to be sure, that is the provoking cir- 
cumstance — without foundation ; yes, yes, there's the mortifi- 
cation, indeed ; for when a scandalous tale is believed against 
one, there certainly is no comfort like the consciousness of hav- 
ing deserved it. 

Lady T. No, to be sure, then I'd forgive their malice ; but 
to attack me, who am really so innocent, and who never say 
an ill-natured thing of anybody — that is, of any friend ; and 
then Sir Peter, too, to have him so peevish, and so suspicious, 



when I know the integrity of my own heart — indeed, 'tis mon- 
strous ! 

Joseph S. But, my dear Lady Teazle, 'tis your own fault if 
you suffer it. When a husband entertains a groundless suspi- 
cion of his wife, and withdraws his confidence from her, the 
original compact is broken, and she owes it to the honor of 
her sex to endeavor to outwit him. 

Lady T. Indeed ! — so that if he suspects me without cause 
it follows that the best way of curing his jealousy is to give him 
reason for't. 

Joseph S. Undoubtedly ; for your husband should never be 
deceived in you — and in that case it becomes you to be frail 
in compliment to his discernment. 

Lady T. To be sure, what you say is very reasonable ; and 
when the consciousness of my own innocence — 

Joseph S. Ah ! my dear madam, there is the great mistake : 
'tis this very conscious innocence that is of the greatest preju- 
dice to you. What is it makes you negligent of forms, and 
careless of the world's opinion ? — why, the consciousness of 
your own innocence. What makes you thoughtless in your 
conduct, and apt to run into a thousand little imprudences ? — 
why, the consciousness of your own innocence. What makes 
you impatient of Sir Peter's temper, and outrageous at his sus- 
picions ? — why, the consciousness of your innocence. 

Lady T. 'Tis very true ! 

Joseph S. Now, my dear Lady Teazle, if you would but once 
make d^tr'Amg faux pas, you can't conceive how cautious you 
would grow, and how ready to humor and agree with your 

Lady T. Do you think so ? 

Joseph S. Oh ! I am sure on't, and then you would find all 
scandal would cease at once ; for, in short, your character at 
present is like a person in a plethora, absolutely dying from 
too much health. 

Lady T. Well, certainly, this is the oddest doctrine, and 
the newest receipt for avoiding calumny ! 

Joseph S. An infallible one, believe me. Prudence, like ex- 
perience, must be paid for. 



Lady T. Why, if my understanding were once convinced 

Joseph S. Oh, certainly, madam, your understanding should 
be convinced. Yes, yes — heaven forbid I should persuade you 
to do anything you thought wrong. No, no, I have too much 
honor to desire it. 

Lady T. Don't you think we may as well leave honor out 
of the argument ? [Rises, crosses L. 

Joseph S. Ah ! the ill-effects of your country education, I 
see, still remain with you. \Rises. 

Lady T. I doubt they do indeed ; and I will fairly own to 
you, that if I could be persuaded to do wrong, it would be by 
Sir Peter's ill-usage, sooner than your honorable logic, after 

Joseph S. Then, by this hand, which he is unworthy of 

[ Taking her hand. 

Enter Servant, l. 

'Sdeath, you blockhead — what do you want ? 

Serv. I beg your pardon, sir, but I thought you would not 
choose Sir Peter to come up without announcing him. 
Joseph S. Sir Peter ! Oons — the devil ! 
Lady T. Sir Peter ! O Lud — I'm ruined — I'm ruined ! 
Serv. Sir, 'twasn't I let him in. 

Lady T. Oh! I'm quite undone ! What will become of me? 
Now, Mr. Logic — Oh ! mercy, sir, he's on the stairs — I'll get 

behind here — and if ever I'm so imprudent again 

{Goes behind screen. 
Joseph S. Give me that book. 

\Sits down near fire. SERVANT pretends to adjust the 
table, L. 

Enter Sir Peter, l. 

Sir P. Ay, ever improving himself. Mr. Surface, Mr. Sur- 
face ! [ Taps Joseph on the shoulder. 

Joseph S. Oh, my dear Sir Peter, I beg your pardon. [Gap- 
ing — throws away the book.] 1 have been dozing over a stupid 
book. Well, I am much obliged to you for 'this call. You 



haven't been here, I believe, since I fitted up this room. 
\Crosses, L.J Books, you know, are the only things I am a 
coxcomb in. 

Sir P. 'Tis very neat indeed. Well, well, that's proper ; and 
you can make even your screen a source of knowledge — hung 
I perceive, with maps ? [ Walking up toward screen. 

Joseph S. Oh, yes, I find great use in that screen. 

{Turning SiR Peter/t^w^ the screen, R. 

Sir P. I dare say you must, certainly, when you want to find 
anything in a hurry. 

Joseph S. Ay, or to hide anything in a hurry either. {AsidCi 

Sir P. Well, I have a little private business 

Joseph S. You need not stay. [ To the Servant, who exits, 
L. ] Sir Peter — I beg {Indicates the divan. They sit. 

Sir P. Well, now we are alone, there is a subject, my dear 
friend, on which I wish to unburden my mind to you — a 
point of the greatest moment to my peace ; in short, my 
good friend, Lady Teazle's conduct of late has made me very 

Joseph S. {Seated, L. C.J Indeed ! I am very sorry to hear it. 

Sir P. [r. C.J Yes, 'tis but too plain she has not the least 
regard for me ; but, what's worse, I have pretty good authority 
to suppose she has formed an attachment for another. 

Joseph S. Indeed ! you astonish me ! 

Sir P. Yes ; and, between ourselves, I think I've discovered 
the person. 

Joseph S. How ! you alarm me exceedingly. 

Sir P. Ay, my dear friend, I knew you would sympathize 
with me ! 

Joseph S. Yes — believe me, Sir Peter, such a discovery 
would hurt me just as much as it would you. 

Sir P. I am convinced of it. Ah ! it is a happiness to have 
a friend whom we can trust, even with one's family secrets. 
But have you no guess who I mean ? 

Joseph S. I haven't the most distant idea. It can't be Sir 
Benjamin Backbite ? 

Sir P. Oh, no ! What say you to Charles ? 

Joseph S. My brother ! impossible ! 



Sir P. Oh ! my dear friend, the goodness of your own heart 
misleads you. You judge of others by yourself. 

Joseph S. Certainly, Sir Peter, the heart that is conscious of 
its own integrity is ever slow to credit another's treachery. 

Sir P. True — but your brother has no sentiment — you never 
hear him talk" so. 

Joseph S. Yet I can't but think Lady Teazle herself has too 
much principle. 

Sir P. Ay, but what is principle against the flattery of a 
handsome, lively young fellow ? 

Joseph S. That's very true. 

Sir P. And then you know the difference of our ages makes 
it very improbable that she should have any very great affec- 
tion for me ; and if she were to be frail, and I were to make it 
public, why the town would only laugh at me, the foolish old 
bachelor, who had married a girl. 

Joseph S. That's true, to be sure, they would laugh. 

Sir P. Laugh — ay, and make ballads, and paragraphs, and 
the devil knows what, of me. 

Joseph S. No — you must never make it public. 

Sir P. But then — that the nephew of my old friend. Sir Oli- 
ver, should be the person to attempt such a wrong, hurts me 
more nearly. 

Joseph S. Ay, there's the point. When ingratitude barbs 
the dart of injury, the wound has double danger in it. 

Sir P. Ay — I, that was, in a manner, left his guardian ; in 
whose house he has been so often entertained ; who never in 
my life denied him — any advice. 

Joseph S. Oh, 'tis not to be credited. There may be a man 
capable of such baseness, to be sure ; but for my part, till you 
can give me positive proofs, I cannot but doubt it. However, 
if it should be proved on him, he is no longer a brother of 
mine — I disclaim kindred with him : for the man who can 
break through the laws of hospitality, and tempt the wife of 
his friend, deserves to be branded as the pest of society. 

Sir P. What a difference there is between you ! what noble 
sentiments ! 

Joseph S. Yet I cannot suspect Lady Teazle's honor. 



Sir P. I am sure I wish to think well of her, and to remove 
all ground of quarrel between us. She has lately reproached 
me more than once with having made no settlement on her ; 
and, in our last quarrel, she almost hinted that she should not 
break her heart if I was dead. Now, as we seem to differ in 
our ideas of expense, I have resolved she shall have her own 
way, and be her own mistress in that respect, for the future ; 
and if I were to die she will find I have not been inattentive to 
her interest while living. Here, my friend, are the drafts of 
two deeds, which I wish to have your opinion on. -By one, 
she will enjoy eight hundred a year independent while I live ; 
and, by the other, the bulk of my fortune after my death. 

Joseph S. This conduct. Sir Peter, is indeed truly generous. 
— I wish it may not corrupt my pupil. [Aside. 

Sir P. Yes, I am determined she shall have no cause to 
complain, though I would not have her acquainted with the 
latter instance of my affection yet awhile. 

Joseph S. Nor I, if I could help-it. \_Aside. 

Sir P. And now, my dear friend, it you please, we will talk 
over the situation of your hopes with Maria. 

Joseph 8. [Softly.'] — Oh, no. Sir Peter ; another time, if you 

Sir P. I am sensibly chagrined at the little progress you 
seem to make in her affections. 

Joseph S. I beg you will not mention it, sir. What are my 
disappointments when your happiness is in debate ! [Softly.^ 
'Sdeath ! I shall be ruined every way. 

Sir P. And though you are so averse to my acquainting 
Lady Teazle with your passion, I'm sure she's not your enemy 
in the affair. 

Joseph S. Pray, Sir Peter, now oblige me. I am really too 
much affected by the subject we have been speaking of to be- 
stow a thought on my own concerns. The man who is en.- 
trusted with his friend's distresses can never 

Enter SERVANT, L. 
Well, sir ? 



Serv. Your brother, sir, is speaking to a gentleman in the 
street, and says he knows you are within. 

Joseph S. \Rises.'\ 'Sdeath, blockhead, I'm not within — I'm 
out for the day. 

Sir P. \_Rises.'\ Stay — hold — a thought has struck me — you 
shall be at home. 

Joseph S. [Crossing to Servant.] Well, well, let him up. 
{Exit Servant, l.] He'll interrupt Sir Peter, however. 

Sir P. [r.] Now, my good friend, oblige me, I entreat you. 
Before Charles comes let me conceal myself somewhere^ 
then do you tax him on the point we have been talking, and 
his answer may satisfy me at once. 

Joseph S. O fie. Sir Peter ! would you have me join in so 
mean a trick ? — To trepan my brother, too ? 

Sir P. Nay, you tell me you are sure he is innocent ; if so, 
you do him the greatest service by giving him an opportunity 
to clear himself, and you will set my heart at rest. Come, you 
shall not refuse me. [Going up.] Here, behind this screen will 

be Hey ! what the devil ! there seems to be one listener 

here already — I'll swear I saw a petticoat. 

Joseph S. Ha! ha! ha! Well, this is ridiculous enough. 
I'll tell you. Sir Peter, though I hold a man of intrigue to be a 
most despicable character, yet you know, it does not follow 
that one is to be an absolute Joseph either ! Hark'ee, 'tis a 
little French milliner — a silly rogue that plagues me — and hav- 
ing some character to lose, on your coming, sir, she ran behind 
the screen. 

Sir P. Ah ! Joseph ! Joseph ! Did I ever think that you — 
but, egad, she has overheard all I have been saying of my wife. 

Joseph S. Oh, 'twill never go farther, you may depend upon 
it. She doesn't understand a word of English. 

Sir P. No ! then, faith, let her hear it out. Here's a closet 
will do as well. 

Joseph S. Well, go in there. 

Sir P. Sly rogue ! sly rogue ! [Going into the closet, R. 

Joseph S. A narrow escape, indeed ! and a curious situation 
I'm in, to part man and wife in this manner. 



Lady T. \Peeping.'\ Couldn't I steal off? 

Joseph S. Keep close, my angel ! \^She hides. 

Sir P. [^Peeping out, R.] Joseph, tax him home. 

Joseph S. Back, my dear friend ! 

Lady S. {^Peeping again.] Couldn't you lock Sir Peter in? 

Joseph S. Be still, my life ! \_She hides. 

Sir P. [^Peeping.] You're sure the little milliner won't 

Joseph S. In, in, my dear Sir Peter — 'fore gad, I wish I had 
a key to the door. 

{In trepidation, fanning himself with his handkerchief. 

Enter Charles Surface, l. 

Charles S. Holla ! brother, what has been the matter ? Your 
fellow would not let me up at first. What ! have you had a 
Jew or a girl with you ? 

Joseph S. [r.] Neither, brother, I assure you. 

Charles S. [L.] But what has made Sir Peter steal off? I 
thought he had been with you. 

Joseph S. He was, brother ; but hearing you were coming, 
he did not choose to stay. 

Charles S. What ? was the old gentleman afraid I wanted to 
borrow money of him ? 

Joseph S. No, sir; but I am sorry to find, Charles, that you 
have lately given that worthy man grounds for great uneasi- 

Charles S. Yes, they tell me I do that to a great many 
worthy men ; but how so, pray ? 

Joseph S. To be plain with you, brother, he thinks you are 
endeavoring to gain Lady Teazle's affections from him ! 

Charles S. Who, I ? O Lud ! not I, upon my word. Ha! 
ha ! ha ! ha ! So the old fellow has found out that he has got 
a young wife, has he ? 

Joseph S. This is no subject to jest on, brother. He who 
can laugh — — 

Charles S. True, true, as you were going to say — then, seri- 
ously, I never had the least idea of what you charge me with, 
upon my honor. 



Joseph S. Well, it will give Sir Peter great satisfaction to 
hear this. 

Charles S. To be sure, I once thought the lady seemed to 
have taken a fancy to me ; but, upon my soul, I never gave her 
the least encouragement — besides, you know my attachment 
to Maria. 

Joseph S. But sure, brother, even if Lady Teazle had be- 
trayed the fondest partiality for you 

Charles S. Why, look'ee, Joseph, I hope I shall never delib- 
erately do a dishonorable action ; but if a pretty woman was 
purposely to thro.w herself in my way — and that pretty woman 
married to a man old enough to be her father 

Joseph 8. Well 

Charles S. Why, I believe I should be obliged to 

Josephs. What? 

Charles S. To borrow a little of your morality, that's all. 
[^Crosses R.] But, brother, do you know now that you sur- 
prise me exceedingly by naming me with Lady Teazle ; for, 
'faith, I always understood you were her favorite. 

Joseph S. Oh, for shame, Charles ! This retort is foolish. 

Charles 8. Nay, I swear I have seen you exchange such sig- 
nificant glances 

Joseph 8. Nay, nay, sir, this is no jest. 

Charles 8. Egad, I'm serious. Don't you remember one 
day when I called here 

Joseph 8. Nay, prythee, Charles 

Charles 8. And you together 

Joseph 8. Zounds, sir ! I insist 

Charles 8^ And another time, your servant 

Joseph 8. Brother, brother, a word with you ! Gad, I must 
stop him. \Aside. 

Charles 8. Informed, I say, that 

Joseph 8. Hush ! {Putting his handkerchief over Charles's 
mouth.'\ I beg your pardon, but Sir Peter has heard every 
word we've been saying. I knew you would clear yourself or 
I would not have consented. 

Charles 8. How, Sir Peter ! Where is he ? 

Joseph 8. Softly ; there. [Points to the closet, R. 



Charles S. Oh, 'fore heaven, I'll have him out. Sir Peter, 
come forth ! [ Trying to get to the closet. 

Joseph S. No, no [^Preventing him. 

Charles 8. I say. Sir Peter, come into court. {Crosses, R. ; 
/«//.?«■« Sir Peter. J What! my old guardian! What! turn 
inquisitor, and take evidence incog.? Oh, fie ! oh, fie ! 

Sir P. Give me your hand, Charles — I believe I have sus- 
pected you wrongfully ; but you mustn't be angry with Joseph 
— 'twas my plan ! 

Charles S. Indeed ! 

Sir P. But I acquit you. I promise you I don't think near 
so ill of you as I did : what I have heard has given me great 

Charles S. Egad, then 'twas lucky you didn't hear any more 
— wasn't it, Joseph ?. [Apart to JOSEPH. 

Sir P. Ah ! you would have retorted on him. 

Charles S. Ay, ay, that was a joke. 

Sir P. Yes, yes, I know his honor too well. 

Charles S. But you might as well suspect him as me in this 
matter, for all that — mightn't he, Joseph? [Apart to JOSEPH. 

Sir P. Well, well, I believe you. 

Joseph S. Would they were both out of the room ! [Aside. 

Sir P. And in future, perhaps, we may not be such stran- 

Enter Servant, l. 

Serv. Lady Sneerwell is below, and says she will come up. 

Joseph S. Lady Sneerwell ! Gad's life ! she must not come 
here ! [Exit Servant, L.J Gentlemen, I beg pardon — I must 
wait on you down- stairs : here is a person come on particular 

Charles S. Well, you can see him in another room. Sir 
Peter and I have not met for a long time, and I have something 
to say to him. 

Joseph S. They must not be left together. [Aside.'] I'll 
send Lady Sneerwell away, and return directly. [Suddenly, 
seeing SiR Peter approach the screen.] Sir Peter ! [Aside as 



Sir Peter comes to him.] Not a word of the French milliner. 
[Suddenly, as CHARLES approaches the screen.^ Charles, en- 
tertain Sir Peter ! [Exits. 

Sir P. [r. c] Ah ! Charles, if you associated more with 
your brother one might indeed hope for your reformation. 
He is a man of sentiment. Well, there is nothing in the world 
so noble as a man of sentiment. 

Charles 8. [L. C.J Pshaw ! he is too moral by half. 

Sir P. No, no ! Come, come — you wrong him. No, no ! 
Joseph is no rake, but he is no such saint either. I have a 
great mind to tell him — we should have such a laugh at 
Joseph. [Aside. 

Charles S. Oh, hang him ! He's a very anchorite, a young 

Sir P. Hark'ee — you must not abuse him : he may chance to 
hear of it again, I promise you. 

Charles S. Why, you won't tell him ? 

Sir P. No !— I won't tell him— but— this way. Egad, I'll 
tell him. [Aside.] Hark'ee — have you a mind to have a good 
laugh at Joseph ? 

Charles S. I should like it of all things. 

Sir P. Then, i'faith, we will — I'll be quit with him for dis- 
covering me. He had a girl with him when I called. 

[ Whispers. 

Charles S. What ! Joseph ? — you jest. 

Sir P. Hush ! — a little French milliner, who doesn't speak a 
word of English — and the best of the jest is — she's in the room 

Charles 8. The deuce she is ! [Points at closet. 

Sir P. Hush ! I tell you ! 

[Knocks his hand and points to the screen. 

Charles S. Behind the screen ! 'Slife, let us unveil. 

Sir P. No, no — he's coming — you shan't, indeed ! 

Charles S. Oh, egad, we'll have a peep at the little milliner ! 
[Endeavoring to get toward screen, SiR Feter preventing. 

Sir P. Not for the world — Joseph will never forgive me 

Charles S. I'll stand by you 

Sir P. Odds, here he is ! 



Joseph Surface enters, u, just as Charles Surface 
throws down the screen. 

Charles S. [c] Lady Teazle ! by all that's wonderful ! 

Joseph S. Lady Teazle ! by all that's horrible ! 

Sir P. [R.] Lady Teazle ! by all that's damnable ! 

Charles S. Sir Peter, this is one of the smartest French 
milliners I ever saw. Egad, you seem all to have been diverting 
yourselves here at hide and seek, and I don't see who is out of 
the secret. Shall I beg your ladyship to inform me ? But I for- 
got, the little French milliner doesn't speak a word of English ! 
Not a word ! Brother, will you be pleased to explain this 
matter ? What ! is Morality dumb too ? Sir Peter, though I 
found you in the dark, perhaps you are not so now ! All mute ! 
Well — though I can make nothing of the affair, I suppose you 
perfectly understand one another — so I'll leave you to your- 
selves. [Going.'\ Brother, I'm sorry to find you have given 
that worthy man grounds for so much uneasiness. Sir Peter, 
there's nothing in the world so noble as a man of sentiment. 
[Exit Charles, l. Sir Peter and Joseph stand for 
some time looking at each other. 

Joseph S. [l.J Sir Peter — notwithstanding — I confess — that 
appearances are against me^ — if you will afford me your pa- 
tience — I make no doubt — but I shall explain everything to 
your satisfaction. 

Sir P. [r.] If you please, sir. 

Joseph S. The fact is, sir, that Lady Teazle, knowing my pre- 
tensions to your ward Maria — I say, sir, Lady Teazle, being ap- 
prehensive of the jealousy of your temper — and knowing my 
friendship to the family — she, sir, I say — called here — in order 
that — I might explain these pretensions — but on your coming 
— being apprehensive — as I said — of your jealousy— she with- 
drew — and this, you may depend on it, is the whole truth of 
the matter. 

Sir P. A very clear account, upon my word ; and I dare 
swear the lady will vouch for every article of it. 

Ladj/ T. {Coming forward, c] For not one word of it. Sir 
Peter ! 



Sir P. How ! don't you think it worth while to agree in the lie ? 

Lady T. There is not one syllable of truth in what that gen- 
tleman has told you. 

Sir P- I believe you, upon my soul, ma'am ! 

Joseph S. [Aside.l 'Sdeath, madam, will you betray me ? 

Lady T. Good Mr. Hypocrite, by your leave I'll speak for 

Sir P. Ay, let her alone, sir ; you'll find she'll make out a 
better story than you without prompting. 

Lady T. Hear me, Sir Peter ! I came hither on no matter 
relating to your ward, and even ignorant of the gentleman's 
pretensions to her. But I came, tempted by his insidious ar- 
guments, at least to listen to his pretended passion, if not to 
sacrifice your honor to his baseness. 

'Sir P. Now I believe the truth is coming indeed ! 

Joseph S. The woman's mad ! 

Lady T. No, sir — the woman has recovered her senses, and 
your own arts have furnished her with the means. Sir Peter, 
I do not expect you to credit me — but the tenderness you ex- 
pressed for me, when I am sure you could not think I was a 
witness to it, has so penetrated to my heart that, had I left 
the place without the shame of this discovery, my future life 
should have spoken the sincerity of my gratitude. \^Crosses to 
L.] As for that smooth-tongued hypocrite, who would have 
tempted the wife of his too credulous friend, while he affected 
honorable addresses to his ward — I behold him now in a light 
so truly despicable that I shall never again respect myself for 
having listened to him. \Ex^t Lady Teazle, l. 

Joseph S. Notwithstanding all this. Sir Peter, Heaven 

Sir P. [^Crosses, L.J That you are a villain ! and so I leave 
you to your conscience, 

Joseph S. You are too rash, Sir Peter ; you shall hear me. 
The man who shuts out conviction by refusing to 

Sir P. Oh, damn your sentiments ! 

[Exeunt SiR PETER and SURFACE talking, L. 




Scene.— Sir Peter Teazle's House. As in Act II. 

Enter Maid and Mrs. Candour, l. 

Maid, [r.] Indeed, ma'am, my lady will see nobody at 

Mrs. C. [l.] Did you tell her it was her friend, Mrs. Can- 
dour ? 

Maid. Yes, ma'am ; but she begs you will excuse her. 

Mrs. C. Do go again — I shall be glad to see her, if it be only 
for a moment, for I am sure she must be in great distress. 
\Exit Maid, R.J Dear heart, how provoking ! I'm not mis- 
tress of half the circumstances ! We shall have the whole affair 
in the newspapers, with the names of the parties at length, be- 
fore I have dropped the story at a dozen houses. 

Enter Sir Benjamin Backbite, l. d. 

Oh, dear Sir Benjamin, you have heard, I suppose 

Sir B. [L.] Of Lady Teazle and Mr. Surface 

Mrs. C. [l.J An* Sir Peter's discovery 

Sir B. Oh ! the strangest piece of business, to be sure. 

Mrs. C. Well, I never was so surprised in my life. I am 
sorry for all parties, indeed. 

Sir B. Now, I don't pity Sir Peter at all ; he was so extrava- 
gantly partial to Mr. Surface. 

Mrs. C. Mr. Surface ! Why, 'twas with Charles Lady Teazle 
was detected. 

Sir B. No such thing, I tell you — Mr. Surface is the gallant. 

Mrs. C. No, no, Charles is the man. 'Twas Mr. Surface 
brought Sir Peter on purpose to discover them. 



Sir B. I tell you I had it from one- 
Mrs. C. And I have it from one — 

Sir B. Who had it from one, who had it- 

Mrs. C. From one immediately — but here comes Lady 
Sneerwell ; perhaps she knows the whole affair. {Crosses, c. 

Enter Lady Sneerwell, l. d. 

Lady S. So, my dear Mrs. Candour, here's a sad affair oi 
our friend Teazle. 

Mrs. C. [C] Ay, my dear friend, who would have thought — 

Lady S. [L.] Well, there is no trusting appearances ; though, 
indeed, she was always too lively for me. 

Mrs. C. To be sure, her manners were a little too free ; but 
then she was so young ! 

Lady S. And had, indeed, some good qualities. 

Mrs. C. So she had, indeed. But have you heard the par- 
ticulars ? 

Lady S. No ; no but everybody says that Mr. Surface 

Sir B. [r.] Ay, there ; I told you Mr. Surface was the man. 

Mrs. C. No, no — indeed the assignation was with Charles. 

Lady S. With Charles ! you alarm me, Mrs. Candour. 

Mrs. C. Yes, yes, he was the lover. Mr. Surface, to do him 
justice, was only the informer. 

Sir B. Well, I'll not dispute with you, Mrs. Candour ; but, 
be it which it may, I hope that Sir Peter's wound will not 

Mrs. C. Sir Peter's wound ! Oh, mercy ! I didn't hear a word 
of their fighting. 

Lady S. Nor I, a syllable. 

Sir B. No ! what, no mention of the duel ? [Crosses, C. 

Mrs. C. [R.] iSTot a word. [All sit. 

Sir B. [c] Oh, yes ; they fought before they left the room. 

Lady S. [L.J Pray, let us hear. 

Mrs. C. Ay, do oblige us with the duel. 

Sir B. " Sir," says Sir Peter, immediately after the dis- 
covery, " you are a most ungrateful fellow." 

Mrs. C. Ay, to Charles 

Sir B. No, no, no — to Mr. Surface — "a most ungrateful 



fellow ; and old as I am, sir," says he, " I insist on immediate 

Mrs. C. Ay, that must have been to Charles ; for 'tis very 
unlikely Mr. Surface should fight in his own house. 

Sir B. Gad's life, ma'am, not at all — " Giving me immediate 
satisfaction." On this, ma'am. Lady Teazle, seeing Sir Peter 
in such danger, ran out of the room in strong hysterics, and 
Charles after her, calling out for hartshorn and water ; then, 
madam, they began to fight with swords 

Enter Crabtree, l. ; crosses, L. C. 

Crab. With pistols, nephew — pistols ; I have it from un- 
doubted authority. 

Mrs. C. [Crosses to Crabtree.] Oh, Mr. Crabtree, then it is 
all true ? 

Crab. [L. C] Too true, indeed, madam, and Sir Peter is dan- 
gerously wounded 

Sir B. [r.J By a thrust in segoon quite through his left 

Crab. By a bullet lodged in the thorax. 

Mrs. C. Mercy on me ! Poor Sir Peter ! 

Crab. Yes, madam : though Charles would have avoided 
the matter if he could. 

Mrs. C. I told you who it was ; I knew Charles was the 

Sir B. My uncle, I see, knows nothing of the matter. 

Crab. But Sir Peter taxed him with the basest ingratitude. 

Sir B. That I told you, you know 

Crab. Do, nephew, let me speak ! — and insisted on imme- 

Sir B. Satisfaction ! Just as I said [Crosses R. C. 

Crab. [r. C] Odds life, nephew, allow others to know 
something too ! A pair of pistols lay on the bureau. Sir 
Peter forced Charles to take one ; and they fired, it seems, 
pretty nearly together. Charles's shot took effect, as I tell 
you, and Sir Peter's missed ; but, what is very extraordinary, 
the ball struck a little bronze Shakespeare that stood over the 



fireplace, grazed out of the window at a right angle, and 
wounded the postman, who was just coming to the door with 
a double letter from Northamptonshire — but whether the letter 
was prepaid or not, I have not been able to ascertain. 

[^Crosses R. 

Sir B. My uncle's account is more circumstantial, I confess ; 
but I believe mine is the only true one, for all that. 

Lady S. [Aside.'\ I am more interested in this affair than 
they imagine, and must have better information. 

[^Exit Lady Sneer well, l. d. 

Sir B. Ah ! Lady Sneerwell's alarm is very easily accounted 

Crab. Yes, yes, they certainly do say — but that's neither 
here nor there. 

Mrs. C. But pray, where is Sir Peter at present ? 

Crab. Oh ! they brought him home, and he is now in the 
house, though the servants are ordered to deny him. 

Mrs. C. I believe so, and Lady Teazle, I suppose, attending 

Crab. Yes, yes ; and I saw one of the faculty enter just be- 
fore me. 

Sir B. Hey ! who comes here ? 

Crab. Oh, this is he : the physician, depend on't. 

Mrs. C. Oh, certainly : it must be the physician ; and now 
we shall know. 

Enter Sir Oliver Surface, l. d. 

Crab. [r. c] Well, doctor, what hopes ? 

Mrs. C. [r.] Ay, doctor, how's your patient ? 

Sir B. Now, doctor, isn't it a wound with a small sword ? 

\Coming down on SiR OLIVER'S L. 

Crab. A bullet lodged in the thorax, for a hundred. 

Sir 0. Doctor ! a wound with a small sword ! and a bullet 
in the thorax ! Oons ! are you mad, good people ? 

Sir B. [L.] Perhaps, sir, you are not a doctor ? 

Sir 0. Truly, I am to thank you for my degree if I Am. 

Crab. Only a friend of Sir Peter's, then, I presume. — But, 
sir, you must have heard of his accident ? 



Sir 0. Not a word ! 

Crab. Not of his being dangerously wounded ? 

Sir 0. The deuce he is ! 

Sir B. Run through the body — 

Crab. Shot in the breast — 

Sir B. By one Mr. Surface — 

Crab. Ay, the younger. 

Sir O. Hey ! what the plague ! you seem to differ strangely 
in your accounts : however, you agree that Sir Peter is danger- 
ously wounded ? 

Sir B. Oh, yes, we agree in that. \Crosses behind to R. 

Crab. Yes, yes, I believe there can be no doubt of that. 

Sir 0. Then, upon my word, for a person in that situation 
he is the most imprudent man alive ; for here he comes walk- 
ing as if nothing at all was the matter. 

Enter SiR Peter Teazle, r. 

Odd's heart, Sir Peter, you are come in good time, I promise 
you ; for we had just given you over. 

Sir B. [L.J Egad, uncle, this is the most sudden recovery ! 

Sir 0. [r. C.J Why, man, what do you out of bed with a 
small sword through your body, and a bullet lodged in your 
thorax ? 

Sir P. [R.J A small sword and a bullet ? 

Sir O. Ay, these gentlemen would have killed you without 
law or physic, and wanted to dub me doctor, to make me an 

Sir P. Why, what is all this ? {Crosses c. 

Sir B. We rejoice, Sir Peter, that the story of the duel is not 
true, and are sincerely sorry for your other misfortune. 

\Goes up a little. 

Sir P. So, so ; all over the town already. {Aside. 

Crab. Though, Sir Peter, you were certainly vastly to blame 
to marry at your years. {Retires a little up. 

Sir P. [R. C.J Sir, what business is that of yours ? 

Mrs. C. Though, indeed, as Sir Peter made so good a hus- 
band, he's very much to be pitied. 



Sir P. Plague on your pity, ma'am ! I desire none of it. 

[Mrs. Candour crosses, l. 

Sir B. {Advances on his L.J However, Sir Peter, you must 
not mind the laughing and jests you will meet with on the oc- 

Sir P. Sir, sir, I desire to be master in my own house. 

Crab. {Advancing to hiin.'\ 'Tis no uncommon case, that's 
one comfort. 

Sir P. I insist on being left to myself : without ceremony — 
I insist on yo.ur leaving my house directly. 

Mrs. C. {Advancing to him.] Well, well, we are going, and 
depend on't we'll make the best report of it we can. 

Sir P. Leave my house ! [ The three take arms. 

Crab. And tell how hardly you've been treated 

Sir P. Leave my house ! 

Sir B. And how patiently you bear it. 
{Exeunt Mrs. Candour, Sir Benjamin, and Crabtree, 
L., arm in arm. 

Sir P. Leave my house ! — Fiends ! vipers ! furies ! Oh ! that 
their own venom would choke them ! 

Sir 0. They are very provoking, indeed, Sir Peter. 

Enter Rowley, l. 

Row. I heard high words : what has ruffled you, sir ? 

Sir P. [C.J Pshaw ! what signifies asking? Do I ever pass 
a day without vexations ? 

Row. Well, I'm not inquisitive. 

Sir 0. [R.J Well, I am not inquisitive ; I come only to tell 
you that I have seen both my nephews in the manner we pro- 

Sir P. A precious couple they are ! 

Row. Yes, and Sir Oliver is convinced that your judgment 
was right. Sir Peter. 

Sir 0. Yes, I find Joseph is indeed the man, after all. 

Row. Ay, as Sir Peter says, he is a man of sentiment. 

Sir 0. And acts up to the sentiments he professes. 

Row. It certainly is edification to hear him talk. 

Sir 0. Oh, he's a model for the young men of the age ! — 



But how's this, Sir Peter ? You don't join us in your friend 
Joseph's praise, as I expected. 

Sir P. [C.J Sir Oliver, we live in a very wicked world, and 
the fewer we praise the better. 

Row. [l.] What ! do you say so, Sir Peter, who were never 
mistaken in your life ? 

Sir P. [c] Pshaw ! Plague on you both ! I see by your 
sneering you have heard the whole affair. I shall go mad 
among you ! 

Row. Then, to fret you no longer, Sir Peter, we are indeed 
acquainted with it all. I met Lady Teazle coming from Mr. 
Surface's, so humble that she deigned to request me to be her 
advocate with you. 

Sir P. And does Sir Oliver know all this ? 

Sir O. Every circumstance. 

Sir P. What, of the closet and the screen, hey ? 

Sir O. Yes, yes, and the little French milliner. Oh, I have 
been vastly diverted with the story ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Sir P 'Twas very pleasant. 

Sir 0. I never laughed more in my life, I assure you. Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! 

Sir P. Oh, vastly diverting ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Row. To be sure, Joseph with his sentiments. Ha ! 

Sir P. Yes, yes, his sentiments ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! Hypocrit- 
ical villain ! 

Sir O. Ay, and that rogue Charles, to pull Sir Peter out of 
the closet ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Sir P. Ha ! ha ! 'Twas devilish entertaining, to be sure. 

Sir O. Ha 1 ha ! ha ! Egad, Sir Peter, I should like to have 
seen your face when the screen was thrown down ! Ha ! 
ha! ha! 

Sir P. Yes, yes, my face when the screen was thrown down ! 
Ha ! ha ! ha ! Oh, I must never show my head again ! 

\Sinks on seat, C. 

Sir 0. But come, come ; it isn't fair to laugh at you, 
neither, my old friend ; though, upon my soul, I can't help it. 

Sir P. Oh, pray don't restrain your mirth on my account : it 



does not hurt me at all ! I laugh at the whole affair myself. 
Yes, yes, I think being a standing joke for all one's acquaint- 
ance a very happy situation. Oh, yes, and then, of a morning, 

to read the paragraph about Mr. S , Lady T , and Sir 

P , will be so entertaining ! I shall certainly leave town 

to-morrow, and never look mankind in the face again. 

{Rises and crosses, R. 

Row. [c] Without affectation, Sir Peter, you may despise 
the ridicule of fools. . But I see Lady Teazle going toward the 
next room ; I am sure you must desire a reconciliation as 
earnestly as she does. 

Sir 0. Perhaps my being here prevents her coming to you. 
{Going. ^ Well, I'll leave honest Rowley to mediate between 
you. {Exit, L. 

Sir P. She is not coming here, you see, Rowley. 

Row. No, but she has left the door of that room open, you 
perceive. See, she is in tears. 

Sir P. Certainly, a little mortification appears very becom- 
ing in a wife. {Comes forward.'] Don't you think it will do 
her good to let her pine a little ? 

Row. Oh, this is ungenerous in you ! 

Sir P. Well, I know not what to think. You remember the 
letter I found of hers, evidently intended for Charles ? 

Row. A mere forgery. Sir Peter, laid in your way on pur- 
pose. This is one of the points which I intend Snake shall 
give you conviction of. 

Sir P. I wish I were once satisfied of that. She looks this 
way. What a remarkably elegant turn of the head she has ! 
Rowley, I'll go to her. 

Row. Certainly. 

Sir P. Though, when it is known that we are reconciled, 
people will laugh at me ten times more. 

Row. Let them laugh, and retort their malice only by show- 
ing them you are happy in spite of it. 

Sir P. I'faith, so I will! and, if I'm not mistaken, we may 
yet be the happiest couple in the country. 

Row. Nay, Sir Peter, he who once lays aside suspicion 

Sir P. Hold, Master Rowley ! If you have any regard for 



me, never let me hear you utter anything like a sentiment : I 
have had enough of them to serve me the rest of my life. 

\Exeunt, R. 

Enter Lady Sneerwell and Joseph Surface, l. 

Lady S. Explain to Sir Peter ! Impossible ! Will he not 
immediately be reconciled to Charles, and of consequence no 
longer oppose his union with Maria ? The thought is distrac- 
tion to me. 

Joseph. Can passion furnish a remedy ? 

Lady 8. No, nor cunning either. Oh, I was a fool, an idiot, 
to league with such a blunderer ! 

Joseph. Sure, Lady Sneerwell, I am the greatest sufferer ; 
yet you see I bear the accident with calmness. Well, I admit 
I have been to blame. I confess I deviated from the direct 
road to wrong, but I don't think we're so totally defeated 

Lady S. No ! 

Joseph. You tell toe you have made a trial of Snake since 
we met, and that you still believe him faithful to us ? 

Lady S. I do believe so. 

Joseph. And that he has undertaken, should it be necessary, 
to swear and prove that Charles is at this time contracted by 
vows of honor to your ladyship, which some of his former 
letters to you will serve to support. 

Lady S. This, indeed, might have assisted. 

Joseph. Come, come ; it is not too late yet. [^Knocking at 
the door, L.] But hark ! this is probably my uncle, Sir 
Oliver. Retire to that room ; we'll consult further when he is 

Lady S. Well, but if he should find you out, too ? 

Joseph. Oh, I have no fear of that. Sir Peter will hold his 
tongue for his own credit's sake — and you may depend on it 
I shall soon discover Sir Oliver's weak side ! 

Lady S. I have no diffidence of your abilities ! only be con- 
stant to one roguery at a time. [JSxzt Lady Sneerwell, L. 

Joseph. I will, I will. So, 'tis confounded hard, after such 



bad fortune, to be baited by one's confederates in evil. Well, 
at all events, my character is so much better than Charles's, 

that I certainly Hey ! what ! — this is not Sir Oliver, but 

old Stanley again. Plague on't ! that he should return to 
tease me just now. I shall have Sir Oliver come and find him 
here — and 

Enter Sir Oliver Surface, l. d. 

Gad's life, Mr. Stanley, why have you come back to plague 
me at this time ? You must not stay now, upon my word. 

Sir O. [L.J Sir, I hear your uncle Oliver is expected here, 
and though he has been so penurious to you, I'll try what he'll 
do for me. 

Joseph, [r.] Sir, 'tis impossible for you to stay now, so I 

must beg Come any other time, and I promise you, you 

shall be assisted. 

Sir 0. No, Sir Oliver and I must be acquainted. 

Joseph. Zounds, sir ! then I insist on your quitting the room 

Sir O. Nay, sir 

Joseph. Sir, I insist on't! Since you compel me, sir, — not 
one moment — this is such insolence ! 

\Going to push him out, L. 


Charles. Hey day ! what's the matter now ! What, the'devil, 
have you got hold of my little broker here ? Zounds, brother, 
don't hurt little Premium. {^Crosses, C] What's the matter, 
my little fellow ? 

Joseph, [r. J So ! he has been with you, too, has he ? 

Charles. [C] To be sure he has. Why, he's as honest a 

little But sure, Joseph, you have not been borrowing money, 

too, have you ? 

Joseph. Borrowing ! No ! But, brother, you know we ex- 
pect Sir Oliver here every 

Charles. O Gad, that's true ! Noll mustn't find the little 
broker here, to be sure ! 



Joseph. Yet Mr. Stanley insists 

Charles. Stanley ! why, his name's Premium. 

Joseph. No, sir, Stanley. 

Charles. No, no, Premium. 

Joseph. Well, no matter which — but 

Charles. Ay, ay, Stanley or Premium, 'tis the same thing, 
as you say ; for I suppose he goes by half a hundred names, • 
besides A. B. at the coffee-house. \Knock. 

Joseph. 'Sdeath ! here's Sir Oliver at the door. Now I beg, 
Mr. Stanley 

Charles. Ay, ay, and I beg, Mr. Premium 

Sir 0. Gentlemen 

Joseph. Sir, by heaven, you shall go ! 

Charles. Ay, ay, out with him, certainly ! 

Sir 0. This violence 

Joseph. Sir, 'tis your own fault. 

Charles. Out with him, to be sure. 

[Both forcing SiR Oliver out. 

Enter LADY Teazle and Sir Peter, Maria, and Rowley, 

R. D. 

Sir P. [C.J My old friend, Sir Oliver— hey ! What in the 
name of wonder — here are dutiful nephews — assault their uncle 
on a first visit ! 

Lady T. [r. c.j Indeed, Sir Oliver, 'twas well we came to 
rescue you. 

Row. [r. j Truly, it was ; for I perceive. Sir Oliver, the 
character of old Stanley was no protection to you. 

Sir 0. [l. c] Nor Premium, either; the necessities of the 
former could not extort a shilling from that benevolent gen- 
tleman ; and with the other, I stood a chance of faring worse 
than my ancestors, and being knocked down without being 
bid for. 

Joseph. [L.J Charles ! 

Charles. [L.J Joseph ! 

Joseph. 'Tis now complete. 

Charles. Very. 



Sir 0. Sir Peter, my friend/and Rowley, too — look on that 
elder nephew of mine. You know what he has already received 
from my bounty ; and you also know how gladly I would have 
regarded half of my fortune as held in trust for him ; judge, 
then, of my disappointment on discovering him to be destitute 
of truth, charity, and gratitude. 

Sir P. [l. c] Sir Oliver, I should be more surprised at this 
declaration if I had not myself found him to be selfish, treach- 
erous, and hypocritical. 

Lady T. And if the gentleman pleads not guilty to these, 
pray let him call me to his character. 

Sir P. Then, I believe, we need add no more ; if he knows 
himself, he will consider it as the most perfect punishment 
that he is known to the world. 

Charles. If they talk this way to honesty, what will they 

say to me, by and by. {Aside. 

[Sir Peter, Lady Teazle, and Maria retire. 

Sir 0. As for that prodigal, his brother there 

Charles. Ay, now comes my turn : those confounded family 
pictures will ruin me. {Aside. 

Joseph. Sir Oliver — uncle, will you honor me with a hear- 
ing ? 

Charles. Now, if Joseph would make one of his long 
speeches I might recollect myself a little. [Aside. 

Sir O. I suppose you would undertake to justify yourself? 

[ To Joseph. 

Joseph. I trust I could. 

Sir O. Nay, if you desert your roguery in its distress, and 
try to be justified, you have even less principle than I thought 
you had. [71? Charles.] Well, sir, you could justify your- 
self, too, I suppose ? 

Charles. Not that I know of. Sir Oliver. 

Sir O. What ! Little Premium has been let too much into 
the secret, I suppose ? 

Charles. True, sir ; but they ^'ere family secrets, and should 
not be mentioned again, you know. 

Row. Come, Sir Oliver, I know you cannot speak of Charles's 
follies with anger. 



Sir O. Odd's heart, no more I can ; nor with gravity either. 
Sir Peter, do you know the rogue bargained with me for all 
his ancestors ? sold me judges and generals by the foot, and 
maiden aunts as cheap as broken china. 

Charles. To be sure, Sir Oliver, I did make a Httle free with 
the family canvas, that's the truth on't. My ancestors may 
certainly rise up in judgment against me : there's no denying 
it ; but believe me sincere when I tell you — that if I do not 
appear mortified at the exposure of my follies, it is because I 
feel at this moment the warmest satisfaction in seeing you, my 
liberal benefactor. 

Sir O. Charles, I believe you : give me your hand again : 
the ill-looking little fellow over the settee has made your 

Charles. Then, sir, my gratitude to the original is still 

Lady T. [^Advancing, c, Maria on her R.J Yet, I believe, 
Sir Oliver, here is one whom Charles is still more anxious 
to be reconciled to. 

Sir O. Oh ! I have heard of his attachment there ; and, with 
the young lady's pardon, if I construe right that blush 

Sir P. Well, child, speak your sentiments ! 

Maria. Sir, I have little to say, but that I shall rejoice to 
hear that he is happy ; for me, whatever claim I had to his 
attention, I willingly resign to one who has a better title. 

Charles. How, Maria ! 

Sir P. Heyday ! what's the mystery now ? While he ap- 
peared an incorrigible rake you would give your hand to no 
one else ; and now that he is likely to reform, I'll warrant you 
won't have him. 

Maria. His own heart and Lady Sneerwell know the cause. 

Charles. Lady Sneerwell ! 

Joseph. .[l.J Brother, it is with great concern I am obliged 
to speak on this point, but my regard to justice compels me, 
and Lady Sneerwell's injuries can no longer be concealed. 

\^Opens the door, L. 



Enter Lady Sneerwell, r. 

Sir P. So ! another French milliner ! Egad, I wonder if he 
hides them in my house as well as his own. 

Lady 8. Ungrateful Charles ! Well may you be surprised, 
and feel for the indehcate situation your perfidy has forced me 

Charles. Pray, uncle, is this another plot of yours? For, as 
I have life, I don't understand it. 

Joseph. I believe, sir, there is but the evidence of one person 
more necessary to make it extremely clear. 

Sir P. And that person, I imagine, is Mr. Snake. Rowley, 
you were perfectly right to bring him with us, and pray let 
him appear. 

Row. Walk in, Mr. Snake. 

Enter Mr. Snake, r. d. 

I thought his testimony might be wanted ; however, it happens, 
unluckily, that he comes to confront Lady Sneerwell, not to 
support her. 

Lady S. [L.J A villain ! Treacherous to me at last ! Speak, 
fellow : have you, too, conspired against me ? 

Snake. [R.J I beg your ladyship ten thousand pardons ; you 
paid me extremely liberally for the lie in question ; but I, un- 
fortunately, have been offered double to speak the truth. 

[Goes up. 

Sir P. Plot and co'unterplot ! I wish your ladyship joy of 
your negotiation. 

Lady S. [ Crosses, L.J The torments of shame and disappoint- 
ment on you all ! 

Lady T. Hold, Lady Sneerwell : before you go, let me thank 
you for the trouble you and that gentleman have taken in 
writing letters from me to Charles, and answering them your- 
self ; and let me also request you to make my respects to the 
scandalous college, of which you are president, and inform them 
that Lady Teazle, licentiate, begs leave to return the diploma 



they granted her, as she leaves off practice, and kills characters 
no longer. 

Lady S. You, too, madam \Crosses, L.J, provoking — insoleht 
— May your husband live these fifty years ! \^Exit, L. 

Sir P. Oons ! what a fury ! 

Lady T. A malicious creature indeed ! 

Szr P. [On Lady Teazle's right hand.'] What ! Not for 
her last wish ? 

Lady T. Oh, no ! 

Sir O. Well, sir, and what have you to say now ? 

Joseph. Sir, I am so confounded to find that Lady Sneer- 
well could be guilty of suborning Mr. Snake in this manner, 
to impose on us all, that I know not what to say : however, 
lest her revengeful spirit should prompt her to injure my 
brother, I had certainly better follow her directly. For the 
man who attempts to [^Crosses and exit, L. 

Sir P. Moral to the last ! 

Sir 0. Ay, and marry her, Joseph, if you can. Oil and 
vinegar ! Egad ! you'll do very well together. 

Row. I believe we have no more occasion for Mr. Snake, at 

Snake. [L.J Before I go, I beg pardon once for all, for what- 
ever uneasiness I have been the humble instrument of causing 
to the parties present. 

Sir P. Well, well, you have made atonement by a good 
deed at last. 

Snake. But I must request of the company that it shall 
never be known. 

Sir P. Hey ! What the plague ! — Are you ashamed of hav- 
ing done a right thing once in your life ? 

Snake. Ah, sir, consider — I live by the badness of my 
character ; and if it were once known that I had been betrayed 
into an honest action, I should lose every friend I have in the 
world. \_Exit, L. 

Sir 0. Well, well, we'll not traduce you by saying any- 
thing in your praise, never fear. 

Lady T. See, Sir Oliver, there needs no persuasion now to 
reconcile your nephew and Maria. 



Sir O. Ay, ay, that's as it should be ; and, egad, we'll have 
the wedding to-morrow morning. 

Charles. Thank you, dear uncle ! 

Sir P. What, you rogue ! don't you ask the girl's consent 

Charles. Oh, I have done that a long time — a minute ago— =- 
and she has looked yes. 

Maria. For shame, Charles ! — I protest, Sir Peter, there has 
not been a word. 

Sir 0. Well, then, the fewer the better ; may your love for 
each other never know abatement ! 

Sir P. And may you live as happily together as Lady- 
Teazle and I intend to do ! 

Charles. I'll make no promises, but here shall be my moni- 
tor — my gentle guide. Ah ! can I leave the virtuous path 
those eyes illumine ? 

Though thou, dear maid, should'st waive thy beauty's sway. 

Thou still must rule, because I will obey : 

An humble fugitive from folly view. 

No sanctuary near but Love and you ; [To the Audience. 

You can, indeed, each anxious fear remove, 

For even Scandal dies, if you approve. 



Rowley, Maria, Charles, LadyT., Sir P., Sir O, 

R. L.